ZimJustice has over the past months received countless reports from both current and retrenched workers, who have not been paid their salaries and terminal benefits by companies that they helped earn so much money over the course of time – most of whom having to risk their lives, as they guarded very dangerous and volatile establishments, prone to armed robbers, with nothing but a stick to protect themselves with.
I have managed to contact several of these security companies, and what they told me left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth, as their repeated excuses of not having money to pay their workers – as they (security firms) are also owed by establishments they offered protection services to.
Most notable of these security companies are Guardian Security, and Velyscin (VS) Security Company – both in Harare – whose claim of not having any money to pay their retrenched workers leaves a lot to be desired.
I had a torrid time just to enter the company’s premises, as the bouncers overzealously tried to deny me entry, as they suspected that I was one of the workers – although, they finally permitted me after identifying myself.
The question that was utmost in my mind when I finally entered the offices was: how can a company operated by real human beings with a heart, treat its own employees – who had served it so diligently and helped it earn money, whilst placing their own lives at risk – as if they were dangerous criminals?
The workers I witnessed gathered outside the Guardian Security head offices were peaceful, yet only wanting to know when they would get their money – something that is within their constitution rights.
What manner of statement is that!
Yet, according to unsubstantiated reports obtained by ZimJustice, VS Security Company is busy acquiring properties, developing its premises, and has even established a parallel security company called Stallion – which allegedly has contracts at the same companies that VS Security has!
However, what is most important is that an employee’s right to a fair wage is guaranteed in the country’s constitution under section 65, and we believe that every company that does not comply by this provision should be held to account.
There have been far too many reports of companies failing in their obligations to pay their employees, using the same flimsy excuse, such that it is high time our new government took decisive action.
Furthermore, some of these companies have alleged to have come up with payment plans, but what is the point of such a set-up if a worker receives $150 only after four to five months – considering the current cost of living?
ZimJustice calls upon the new government to finally show that it is different from the Robert Mugabe-era, by putting in place mechanisms that protect workers.
Workers in Zimbabwe are arguably the most ill-treated and oppressed people on this continent, and ZimJustice urges the new government to change their plight.
It is much easier to obtain maintenance money, than to obtain what one has worked for for over 20 years!
Do they even lose any sleep that their employees can not even afford to pay rent for their accommodation?
Whilst, these merciless executives feast with their families and friends, do they even take a moment to wonder what these workers, they are failing to pay, are eating?
I personally believe that these executives do not give a hoot – and just like that father who does not care about his children’s welfare – firm and decisive action needs to be taken against them.
We can not wait for them to finally miraculously grow a heart, but need to take action today!
The disadvantaged also need to eat well, they also need to have their children in good schools, and also need to have decent housing.
What is the point of opening Zimbabwe to business, if that only means opening Zimbabwe to more oppressors, exploiters, and slave masters?
We can never achieve a middle income economy by 2030 – no matter how many companies open their businesses in Zimbabwe – as long as those who would be employed by those companies would never be paid.
Let the new government of Zimbabwe join hands with the workers of this country in bringing justice to all – let us give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar!
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is the Programmes Director with the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice). Please feel free call/WhatsApp: +263715667700, or (calls ONLY): +263782283975, or email: [email protected]. Please also ‘Like’ the ‘ZimJustice’ page on Facebook.