CHITUNGWIZA town clerk George Makunde yesterday told parliamentarians that the $4 500 monthly salary he was receiving from the local authority was not commensurate with the nature of his job.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Presenting oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Makunde said government last year slashed his salary from $10 000 to $4 500, which he described as “not a living salary for a man with so much pressure”.
“My salary, madam chair, I want this put on record because a lot was written about me getting $21 000 and so on, I was never paid such an amount. I could not respond to the media then because I am not a person who believes in responding via the Press . . . I used to be paid $10 000 as a flat salary and a $2 500 housing allowance, but since I was staying in a council house, I never claimed it. I only got $10 000 monthly,” Makunde, who was accompanied by his mayor Philip Mutoti and other directors, said.
“After the government directive sometime last year, my salary was reduced to $4 500. . . this is the money I am getting even today, all inclusive. But, madam chair, let this be known that that amount, in all fairness, does not match the salary I deserve. I don’t want to be emotional about this, but I want to state facts as they are.
“You are the committee that represents our interests and you have to know this. Imagine you have a family and you have to tell your child that we are unable to pay your school fees because my salary has been reduced, think of the emotional trauma that the child will go through.
It’s very unfortunate,” Makunde said.
“It is not a living salary, but I will leave it there for now.”
The town clerk told the committee that his financially-struggling council was sinking in debt and struggling to clear its salary backlog now estimated at $17 million.
“Chitungwiza owes its employees around $17 million in salary arrears translating to an average range of four to 18 months in terms of the number of months owed to individual employees. Terminated employees are owed $2 413 812 in salary arrears and terminal benefits,” he said.
“Although some employees are owed up to a maximum of 18 months, this does not mean that employees have gone for such months without some form of income as
the employer has always ensured that every employee would get at least part payment of their salary every month or every other month.”