WORKERS gathered for Workers Day celebrations in Bulawayo last week took Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe to task demanding to know when the government would cease paying military personnel attached to parastatals double salaries.
The workers who were given an opportunity to air their views at the May Day celebrations held in Bulawayo said senior army personnel who were seconded to parastatals were receiving double salaries as they were still getting their military salaries at a time when the government had inadequate funds to pay civil servants.
Workers expressed outrage that the same military personnel were also receiving war veteransâ€™ allowances and demanded that all military personnel heading parastatals return to army barracks.
â€œWe want to know when the new government will send all serving soldiers who were sent to parastatals back to the barracks because most of them do not serve any meaningful purpose,â€ complained one worker at the celebrations.Â Â Â
Sources at parastatals in Bulawayo revealed that the majority of army personnel seconded to parastatals were earning their full salaries from the army and from public entities they were working for.
â€œThere are too many army people running parastatals and the majority of them are colonels. Their role is not clear in the parastatals and they are earning huge salaries when there is no expertise they are bringing to the organisations they were sent to,â€ said one worker.
Khupe told the workers that the government would look into the issues raised and said civil servants should be patient with the government on salaries and urged teachers to return to work. Â
It also emerged that the ongoing audit being conducted by the Ministry of Public Service will also seek to establish how many military personnel are not in barracks but doing work elsewhere.
The Minister of Public Service, Elphias Mukonoweshuro, however could not be drawn to comment on the issue directly but said there was an audit of the civil service going on.
â€œThe audit of the civil service is ongoing and if there are any abnormalities, they will be unearthed when the process is complete. The whole process seeks to establish such things and we will announce our findings once the exercise is complete,â€ said Mukonoweshuro. Â
The Ministry of Public Service embarked on the public service audit after it emerged that there were thousands of ghost workers who were milking the fiscus at a time when the country was in dire straits.
BY LOUGHTY DUBE