Scores of disgruntled pensioners yesterday stormed Mhlahlandlela government offices in Bulawayo demanding that they be paid $150 per month, citing that the paltry pensions they were receiving every month.
BY TALENT GUMPO
The picketers demanded to meet Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Angeline Masuku, saying they were living in dire conditions and wanted her to take their petition to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Placard-waving pensioners stood unfazed at the main gate of the government complex demanding to meet Masuku, while others chanted slogans and sang.
Speaking to Masuku’s secretary, Josphat Mzaca Ngulube said pensioners were getting a paltry $17 monthly.
He said they were giving the government two months to increase the pensions to at least $150.
“We are here to tender this petition to Minister Angeline Masuku. We want this matter addressed. We have elderly people here and widows who are being taken advantage of by companies. This petition must get to the President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He must know that there are many elderly people who worked at the National Railways of Zimbabwe and other companies who are getting $17 per
“He (Mnangagwa) does not condone corruption, so we want those people who are robbing our parents of their hard-earned money to be dealt with,” he said.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the government must either make sure pensioners get their rightful dues or provide jobs for youths who support them (pensioners).
“If they cannot increase the money they pay them each month, then they must give youths jobs because they are the ones who are taking care of us,” he said.
He accused the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of prioritising less important things over the survival of pensioners.
“Right now, NSSA is making investments in useless franchises, yet they are failing to pay pensioners reasonable money.”
A widow identified as MaNcube said they had been patient for too long, but had realised that they were being taken for granted.
“We know that the country does not have money, but $17 is an insult. How are we supposed to buy food, pay school fees for our children, pay rates to council and many other expenses? We will continue to demonstrate until we get desired responses,” she said.
Pensioners have, over the years, complained that they are getting measly payouts, which do not tally with the number of years of service.
In 2015, pension funds and insurance companies converted pension funds from Zimbabwe dollars to US dollars, leaving most pensioners with nothing.