Council workers cry over salary delays

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GOKWE — Gokwe Town Council employees have accused management of neglecting their welfare while pampering themselves with new vehicles.

The workers, who refused to be identified, said they had not received salaries for two consecutive months, and were now living on loans at a time the local authority has acquired two cars for their bosses.

Town clerk Tapiwa Marongwe, however, dismissed allegations that council had failed to pay workers for two months. But, he admitted they were facing challenges owing to low levels of revenue collection in the cotton-growing town.

“We just owe our workers their September salaries, but this is not a unique situation to us. Local authorities are struggling to pay their workers owing to liquidity challenges. We paid the last batch of salaries for August by last Friday,” Marongwe said.

Gokwe Residents’ Association chairman Pranos Mudzota supported the workers whom he said were now neglecting their duties owing to poor working conditions while management were misdirecting council resources.

“We are nearing the limits of our patience with council. They fail to pay workers on time always, yet they have money to purchase vehicles, while going on endless and expensive trips which add no real value to Gokwe,” Mudzota said.

Marongwe shot back saying the allegations were baseless and did not reflect the truth at the local authority, which is surviving on a $2, 4 million budget.

“We are committed to service delivery. Buying cars
does not constitute negligence because we can’t provide such service without vehicles. We are a small town and revenue here is tight, but we are doing our best with what we have. However, it is the duty of such groups to say those things,” Marongwe said.

The residents’ association is reportedly planning to approach Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo over the issue.