By Tendayi Madhomu
Troubled escalating deductions on their payslips in an unfavourable economic environment, teachers have handed President Emmerson Mnangagwa a list of 16 loan sharks whom they allege are swindling them.
In their written submissions, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) led by Takavafira Zhou last week alleged that there might be some government bigwigs working hand in glove with the Salary Service Bureau (SSB) to deprive them of their hard earned earnings, noting that in some cases loan deductions have resumed without their members’ permission.
PTUZ bemoaned that while the teachers are wallowing in poverty, money lenders and other unauthorised deductions have only added to their suffering.
“We have previously raised the issue with your Office…President, that some money lending firms and other organisations are fleecing our members without their permission,” noted PTUZ.
“It would seem that either these companies are above the law or are conniving with officials of the SSB to deduct these monies without the permission of the affected members. Another possibility is that they are politically connected and are protected whenever they are challenged to stop their thievery; and the SSB is allowing deductions on members’ payslips that are above the accepted thresholds.”
The loan facilities offered by the noted local loan companies have of late become synonymous with civil servants.
A common feature with most money lenders is that civil servants including teachers form the basis of their clientele who are all desperate to access easy loans.
Analysts recently raised the need to establish a proper and well-capacitated national Credit Clearing Bureau where the names and credit histories of all borrowers can be accessed.
They have indicated that this does not only protect borrowers from unfair lending practices, but also enables lenders to access vital credit history information about their clients and potential clients.
A situation without a functioning central credit bureau, and no legislation to protect borrowers and lenders, leaves consumers vulnerable to irresponsible and sometimes downright unfair credit practices.
The PTUZ leadership presented teachers’ grievances to Mnangagwa last Friday, where they demanded for their salaries to be in US dollars, noting that members of the union have become incapacitated.
Addressing journalists after a closed meeting with the president, Raymond Majongwe, the union’s secretary-general said Mnangagwa had promised to respond to the union formally.
Teachers have threatened not to return to work when schools open in January, if their challenges are not addressed. Daily News