BY SIBONGINKOSI MAPHOSA
GOVERNMENT’S recruitment freeze has seen most departments, among them the higher education institutions, operating with skeleton staff, making it difficult for them to deliver expected outcomes, an official has said.
This was revealed by the Joshua Mqabuko Polytechnic principal Ngoni Moyo at the recent tour of the Gwanda-based institution by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and
Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.
“We are short-staffed. We have been applying to the relevant ministry to be given a go-ahead to employ more lecturers, but we are always being turned down, making it difficult for us to discharge our duties,” Moyo said.
Government froze recruitments and promotions in the civil service as part of its staff rationalisation exercise in line with recommendations of the civil service report of 2015.
The committee, chaired by MDC legislator Daniel Molokele was taken on a tour of the college by heads of departments.
Moyo said power outages were also disrupting studies.
“We are having serious problems with the power supply. Our students cannot study because of the blackouts we are experiencing. We go for 16 hours without power and it is difficult for us to produce quality results,” Moyo said.
Moyo said they had written to the power utility, Zesa to review load-shedding for the college.
“We have just written to Zesa to spare us on load-shedding since we are a learning institution because we need as much power as we can, we are waiting for the parastatal’s response,” Moyo said.
Students and staff accommodation was another challenge, Moyo said.
“About 99% of our students are staying outside campus. It is difficult for them to study till late at their library for they have to go back to their respective lodgings. Same with the lecturers, they do not have accommodation.”
However, on the positive side, Molokele noted that the college is quite inclusive as it has ramps for the physically-challenged students who use wheelchairs.
“Well, I can see that you are ready to enrol any type of student despite their disabilities as you have ramps to help them move from one point to another,” Molokele said.
The committee is expected to conclude its visits to all government-run tertiary institutions by November and table is findings before Parliament.