By Mugove Tafirenyika
Several Zanu PF politicians have been dragged to court by employees over failure to pay wages at their farms.
As a result, the Progressive Agriculture and Allied Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Paawuz) — the union that represents farm workers — has been left with no choice but to approach the Labour Court for redress.
Court documents seen by the Daily News show that several Zanu PF bigwigs, among them former Public Service minister Nicholas Goche; Bindura South Member of Parliament Remigious Matangira; former first lady Grace Mugabe’s sister Rose Chidhakwa; former Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and former Mbare legislator Tendai Savanhu owe their employees tens of thousands of United States dollars in unpaid wages and allowances.
The development is the clearest indication that even the elite in Zanu PF are finally feeling the pinch of economic hardships being faced by the majority of their countrymen.
Goche, who has previously held the powerful State Security portfolio, was invited to attend court proceedings on July 19, over non-payment of workers at his Ceres Chizenga Farm in Shamva.
He had gone for 15 months without paying the aggrieved farm workers, according to the documents.
In the case of Chidhakwa’s Wool Farm in Mashonaland Central, her employees are demanding payment of allowances for over nine months, Matangira’s Thrums Farm in Mashonaland Central owes over $80 000 in wages.
“You are notified that the matter or appeal concerning alleged non-payment and underpayment of allowances in respect of which a notice of appeal was made on August 11 and to which you are a party, shall be herd before J Mudani on October 3, 2018..,” reads part of the summons issued to the Bindura South lawmaker.
Sekeramayi is also struggling to pay his workers at his sprawling Ulva Farm in Mashonaland East.
Paawuz said the former Health minister owes over $40 000 in unpaid wages and allowances for his over 60 employees.
His matter is pending at the Labour Court.
Several white commercial farmers have also been dragged over the same allegations, among them John Butler who owns Butler Farm in Mashonaland East, Stewart Tippet who owns Glenisla Tobacco Farm in Marondera as well as Peter Moore’s Golden Arles Farm.
Moore is accused of “non-payment and underpayment of wages, not providing accommodation and transport allowance” to his employees according to the court documents filed on August 1, 2018.
Paawuz secretary-general Raymond Sixpence told the Daily News yesterday that some of the commercial farmers were intimidating workers taking advantage of the influence they wield in Zanu PF.
“Only courageous employees dare challenge these bigwigs because they claim to be influential…
“They are virtually a law unto themselves and even when we try to engage them as a union, they treat us with contempt,” alleged Sixpence.
Progressive-Agriculture-and-Allied-industries-Workers-Union-of-Zimbabwe. Daily News.