ZCTU calls for mass action against the central bank

Zimbabwe's labour leaders have called for mass public action to protest against the central bank's restrictive cap on cash withdrawal limits - amid a worsening food, health and cash crisis.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest official inflation of 231 million
percent, but experts say the rate has reached far beyond the
quintillion mark. The daily withdrawal limit of Z$500,000 was recently
increased from a mere Z$50, 000 but still does not buy even half a loaf
of bread. A 2 kilogram pack of sugar bought in local currency means
Zimbabweans must spend four days in line at a bank or automated teller
machine to get enough money. The withdrawal limit coupled with the
general refusal to accept cheques or cards, means Zimbabweans cannot
physically purchase even the most basic necessities.

Most concerning however is that amid a national cholera crisis that has
claimed thousands of lives, Zimbabweans cannot withdraw enough money to
pay for critically needed medication or even the transport to get the
sick to hospitals and clinics. The situation has led to the call by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for Zimbabweans to try and
withdraw more than the Z$500,000 limit next Wednesday.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of us have died not because of anything
other than the imposed cash withdrawal limits, said the head of the
ZCTU Lovemore Matombo in an interview on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Mugabe reappointed central bank governor Gideon Gono
for another five-year term at the Reserve Bank – a move that has
sparked outcry across the country.

Meanwhile trade unions from across Southern Africa will meet in
Gaborone, Botswana on Friday to discuss regional matters and joint
actions' in a meeting where Zimbabwe and Swaziland are said to be high
on the agenda.

We note that in Zimbabwe the cholera crisis threatens the whole region
and this is a result of the political and economic crisis in that
country and postponing the problem or avoiding it has not helped
anyone, but worsened the suffering of the people, a statement by South
Africa's trade union federation COSATU said on Thursday. We also note
that the inability of the political crisis in that country to be
resolved has exposed SADC's challenges and the need for more political
will by the leaders of Zimbabwe to do all within their power for their
people.

COSATU has been a driving force behind various protests against the
undemocratic regimes in both Zimbabwe and Swaziland. The South African
union federation has organised demonstrations and blocked the borders
to both neighbouring countries, and has also pressured South Africa's
ruling ANC government to take action.

 By Alex Bell

Post published in: News

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