Economic blues hit pensioners



PENSIONERS in urban areas say they have been hard hit by the economic crisis caused by the hyperinflationary environment in the country, making it difficult for them to pay for rates as well as meet their basic needs.

The pensioners revealed this during a feedback meeting organised by Glen Norah MP Wellington Chikombo (MDC) and local councillor Herbert Gomba, who is also the mayor of Harare.

The pensioners said the money they were getting from the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) as part of their pension had been eroded by inflation and they were now finding it difficult to pay their council bills.

“You expect us to pay for rates using what? We are not getting anything from Nssa. The little we are getting cannot buy anything, cannot pay for anything. Please talk to government on our behalf and tell them that this is no longer bearable,” one of the pensioners said.

Gomba told the meeting that inflation was also affecting service delivery in the city where residents were facing challenges in paying their rates.

“We do not get favours from anywhere and let us not expect a miracle from us at times,” Gomba said, adding that council raises its money from ratepayers to fund service delivery.

“Refuse collection is complicated. We met the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya last year and he promised $6 million for refuse trucks. That is yet to come. The available trucks have old parts and we need foreign currency to buy the spares. Where do we get the money if you are not paying?” he asked.

Chikombo said Harare was hit hard by the rural to urban migration due to poverty, urging government to also include urbanites in food aid distribution.

“We are also saying that gone are the days when poverty was only in rural areas. Now, many people migrated from the rural areas and came to the city where unemployment is at 95%. Government must do something in terms of giving out food like they do in rural areas,” he said.

“We know the Zanu PF government wants to use food as a political tool in villages for them to win votes. That must stop.

“Food must also come to the impoverished people in towns and cities because that is where poverty has found its way. Everyone must get a fair share of food aid and not using that as a campaign tool in rural areas,” he added.