Gokwe Town Council employees have not yet been paid their February salaries and wages following the suspension of town secretary Tapiwa Marongwe, who is one of the signatories to council bank accounts.
Although council has since appointed town engineer, only identified as Madondo, as acting town secretary while investigations on Marongwe continue, he could not sign until approval was reportedly sought from the Local Government ministry.
Workers who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said the council had failed to pay salaries and wages on time because it was still wrangling over the change of signatories.
“We have not yet received our salaries because Marongwe, who is supposed to sign for us to access the salaries, was suspended and nothing has been done to change the signatories because they are wrangling over reinstating him in line with (Local Government minister Ignatius) Chombo’s directive or the (deputy minister Sesel) Zvidzai way to defy Chombo,” said a senior council official.
Town chairman Malvin Mudondo confirmed the delay in paying out salaries, but dismissed assertions the deferment had been caused by bickering over Marongwe.
“We have since started paying our workers. In fact, most, if not all, received their salaries on Thursday last week. This council is committed to making sure that our workers are paid on time, but we just had challenges in regularising changes on account signatories following the suspension of Marongwe,” said Mudondo.
He said the local authority had in the past consistently paid its employees and had not missed their paydays as was the case with other councils.
“We are up to date with our salaries and wages, we paid bonuses and the January payment even came early, what happened was just a delay and nothing serious,” said Madondo.
Despite being reinstated to his position through a directive by Chombo, councillors maintained Marongwe would remain suspended until a full investigation was launched into allegations of gross corruption.