The Railways Pensioners’ Association, which has a membership of 6 000, has accused the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) of failing to remit workers’ contributions to the pension fund for about a year now.
The association’s president Esaph Mdlongwa said the situation had resulted in pensioners living in abject poverty.
“Pensioners are living a hard life,” he said.
“Most of us are now very poor. The situation has even affected widows and orphans who expect to benefit from the contributions. We feel that there is a lot of rot within the NRZ. Some people are pocketing money which has to benefit pensioners.”
Flanked by the association’s vice-president Harris Mwasangwale, treasurer Donald Ndlovu and John Ncube, a trustee, Mdlongwa said at a press conference the pension fund owned a lot of properties in Bulawayo and Harare but was failing to take care of its beneficiaries.
“We want the NRZ to take immediate action to rectify the situation,” said Mdlongwa. “I have been addressing pensioners and pleading with them not to lose their cool. But for how long will I manage to contain them?”
He also took a swipe at the Railway Workers’ Union accusing them of failing to address workers’ grievances.
Mdlongwa said the situation was so dire that the pensioners were no longer able to access medicine through the parastatal’s medical aid society, Railmed.
However, NRZ public relations manager Fanuel Masikati refuted the allegations.
“What happens is that we receive invoices from the pension fund and then process the money.”
“All the time, we quickly process the money and send it to the pension fund. We are equally concerned about the welfare of our pensioners,” Masikati said.