By Zvamaida Murwira
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede will continue to hold office despite reaching the retirement age of 65 years, since the Civil Service Commission is empowered to engage such persons if their services are still required, Parliament has heard.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Petronella Kagonye said it was not prudent to discriminate persons on account of age and Government would soon ratify the African Union Protocol on Older Persons calling on State parties to respect their rights to employment.
Minister Kagonye said this in the National Assembly during questions with notice session last week. Harare West MP Ms Jessie Majome (MDC-T) had asked her to inform the House when Mr Mudede was born and why he was not being retired when he was above the retirement age of 65.
“In direct response to the question from my learned colleague, allow me Mr Speaker, to say that Mr Tobaiwa Mudede was appointed as the Registrar in terms of Section 201 (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as read with Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000 (Public Service Regulations) as amended,” said Minister Kagonye.
“In terms of Section 21 (1) of the Public Service Act, the Commission can engage persons on contract or such conditions as may be fixed from time to time. The Commission is empowered by the Public Service Regulations to engage on annually renewable contracts after they reach retirement age.
“Such persons will not contribute again towards a pension as they would have already done so, hence their placement on annually renewable contract.”
Minister Kagonye said the AU was advocating to have the retirement age moved forward due to the rising life expectancy witnessed globally.
“For example, British Government announced the possibility of raising retirement age to 67 or 68 to match the trend,” she said. Article 8 of the African Union Protocol on Older Persons requires us to respect older persons’ Right to Employment.
It provides that: “States Parties shall:
1. Take measures to eliminate discrimination against Older Persons with regard to employment opportunities;
2. Ensure that Older Person enjoy decent working conditions.
“Resolution 106 African Union bears in mind the rapid rate at which the population of older person is increasing throughout the world and that the most rapid increase is taking place in the developing world, with Africa alone projected to have between 204 and 210 million older person by 2050.
“This resolution, therefore, calls upon all African Governments to review policies on Older Persons. My ministry is currently initiating ratification of this new Protocol, which Parliament is expected to debate and endorse.
“It is important for us to consider social trends and keep abreast with global and continental trends. Our laws must remain relevant and devoid of discrimination against age in this particular context, otherwise we perish for want of vision.”
Minister Kagonye implored legislators not to personalise their enquiries, but rather to interrogate policy issues. Her ministry, she said, had proposed amendments to adjust National Social Security Authority retirement age from 60 to 65 and the suggestion was being considered by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The Herald