Teachers at govt schools to pay rentals

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THE country’s poorly-paid teachers stationed at government schools will soon be required to pay rentals for their staff accommodation as Treasury widens its revenue collection net, NewsDay has learnt.

EVERSON MUSHAVA

The rentals, according to the government sources, would largely depend on the condition of the houses and would range from $50 to $150.

Although Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora said he was not aware of the matter, teachers’ unions said workers from the Ministry of Local Government had already visited several government schools to assess the state of the houses in order to come up with the appropriate rental charges.

Some teachers at government schools in Mbire district claimed their houses had already been assessed.

“No, I am not aware. I will get the permanent secretary to check with her counterpart,” Dokora said last Thursday.

Teachers’ unions said they would express their concerns to the parent ministry when they meet government this week.

Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Manuel Nyawo said some government schools had always been paying nominal rentals and the “astronomical” hike of rentals on the poorly remunerated teachers was a cause of concern.

“We are in possession of a paper from government signed by the Local Government permanent secretary Engineer George Mlilo. We are surprised by the move and we are surely going to table it before the Apex Council meeting with government next (this) week,” Nyawu said.

Apex Council is the umbrella body for all civil service workers’ representatives. Mlilo said he was attending a funeral and would welcome questions today.

“We don’t see the rationale for levying teachers’ rent, a teacher naturally should be accommodated by the school. We would appreciate if the government had increased salaries substantially. Where does government want our colleagues to fork out the rentals from?” Nyawo asked.

Teachers in Zimbabwe are among the least paid in the region, with most of them earning well below the poverty datum line of $600. The development comes after Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa last Wednesday ruled out any civil service salary hike this year citing a serious cash squeeze.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe national co-ordinator Ladicious Zunde said it was disturbing that the Local Government ministry had bypassed line ministries.

“What the Local Government ministry was doing was a clandestine move to rob teachers of their hard-earned cash,” Zunde said.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union chief executive office Sifiso Ndlovu said: “The issue is typical of unfair practice on the part of government. We cannot have some teachers pay rent while others do not pay.

“This will divide them. There is no equitable treatment of civil servants. In terms of equality and values, it is not sustainable. Government has not increased salaries and they increase and introduce rentals on teachers, this is an oxymoron. The issue is under discussion at the National Joint Negotiating Council where government has raised it and as unions, we have also raised our concerns. The Local Government ministry should have been working with other ministries.”

The government has been experiencing serious cash flow problems that has seen it changing its workers’ pay date, threatening to scrap payment of bonuses and in January increasing rentals by 100% for all those civil servants who stay in government accommodation. Some of the teachers who spoke to the NewsDay on condition of anonymity said they would consider securing cheaper accommodation away from the schools.

The new lease agreement forms given to teachers to sign were headed, Institutional and Pool Houses-Flats, Agreement of Lease entered between Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry.

Under the new terms, teachers would no longer be allowed to do any commercial activities at the premises, and not more than 10 people would be allowed to stay under one roof, including religious gathering, while it will also be an offence to keep the property infested with cockroaches, beetles, bees, fleas and rodents.

3 COMMENTS

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  2. This is idiotic..this is the only real benefit that teachers get given their poor salaries. What is upsetting is after withdrawing the incentive which in some schools gobbled up to 60% of the levy paid this is not called for. What is disturbing is what is happening to the funds the SDA earmarked for incentives which the Minister removed given the schools are still collecting this? In some schools they are actually increasing the levies. Why is the Minister quiet about all this or is he the one collecting what parents had earmarked for their teachers? This is MADNESS. Fire the SDA thieves and officers in the ministry who are approving these mad levies and leave our teachers alone herr Minister!

  3. I feel pity for the guys in Mbire because working in that part of Zimbabwe is a real sacrifice. Now with the hardship of serving the nation in that scotching heat, one is confronted with forking out the peanuts he gets as rentals at their station?,You really wonder where these guys get the power to move on? Instead, they should be given hardship allowance for their dedication not a deduction. Some people are really heartless. In the summer they endure floods, and scotching heat throughout the year,phew!!!! .I have been there once and have no desire to go back. Talk of the roads, a teacher travels for more than 30km to station in the midst of a forest infested with wild animals just to get a raw deal?Improve conditions of work first!! The future of the teacher in Zimbabwe is so bleak!

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