Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister Tapiwa Matangaidze has claimed there are no ghost workers in the civil service despite numerous reports that thousands of mostly Zanu PF youths are being paid by the government for doing nothing.
by XOLISANI NCUBE
Matangaidze told Parliament on Wednesday that a civil service audit conducted by his ministry this year showed that there were 188 000 posts in the public service with 157 000 workers having been physically counted during the assessment.
“The number that could not tally is a figure slightly over 3 500. Yes, some of those people were not on their posts, but have since come forward with proof that for genuine reasons, they were absent from their posts when the audit was carried out. So, that verification exercise is ongoing as we speak right now,” Matangaidze said.
This was in contrast to the results of an audit conducted in 2011 which revealed that the State’s payroll was overstaffed by over 75 000 ghost workers who were supposed to be axed as the wage bill had become unsustainable, with Treasury increasingly battling to pay civil servants and pensioners.
Most of the ghost workers were reportedly unqualified Zanu PF militias and supporters.
They were allegedly unearthed in the civil service through a comprehensive payroll and skills audit done by Ernst & Young (India) on behalf of the Public Service ministry in 2011.
The ghost workers included 6 861 employed in one day in a single ministry.
But Matangaidze said as far as he was concerned, there were no ghost workers and MDC-T MP Trevor Saruwaka, who had posed the question, was misinformed.
“If my memory serves me right, the ghost workers that the Honourale Member is alluding to, they are certainly not in the report we are talking about. That report, I can tell you, was extremely detailed,” he said.
Saruwaka, however, challenged Matangaidze, arguing his boss, Prisca Mupfumira, had previously indicated that there were more than 550 000 civil servants.