Thousands suffer as govt fails to pay pensions

Government has failed to pay retired civil servants their lump sum pensions since May 2013, subjecting hundreds to poverty. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces was the hardest hit.

Sources at the Mukwati Government Pensions Office in Harare said prospects of the affected former government workers getting their dues soon were dwindling with each day. “The pensions would only be paid out when treasury has disbursed funds to the pensions office,” said a highly placed source on condition of anonymity.

For now, the source said, retired members would only receive terminal benefits depending on their accrued leave days – to be paid on the last pay day of service. Four months later, they will start getting monthly pension allowances ranging between $140-$220.

Under normal circumstances, retired government workers would get terminal benefits on the last pay date of service, and the lump sum three months later followed by monthly life payments.

The lowest ranking member of the Defence Forces would receive an average $16,000 lump sum, depending on period of service while those in other government ministries should pocket a minimum $6,000.

“The problem now is that the terminally ill and those due for retirement are hesitant to submit applications to quit employment due to non-availability of pension funds,” said a terminally ill teacher.

A retired soldier, identified as Never Chako, said he was yet to benefit from the lump sum pension eight months after retiring on medical grounds. “The situation is so desperate that the pensioners are living like paupers with no idea of when government will pay the lump sum,” he said.

The cash-strapped government has also failed to honour its promises to increase civil servants’ salaries in January 2014. The lowest paid worker was expected to get $505 per month up from $300.

Post published in: News
  1. Diana Mitchell

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