By Mashudu Netsianda
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has said former Vice President, Phelekezela Mphoko, will be paid only his pension in local currency and should not expect any other benefits.
The latest development follows an application lodged at the High Court by Mr Mphoko, through his lawyer, Mr Zibusiso Ncube of Ncube and Partners, seeking an order directing Government, through the PSC to award him more than US$300 000 in benefits and monthly pension payouts.
In papers before the Bulawayo High Court, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, PSC secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutaunashe, Salary Services Bureau (SSB) paymaster Mr Brighton Chuzingo and PSC pensions master, one K Makiwa, were cited as respondents.
Mr Mphoko wanted an order declaring the withholding of his pension by the Government illegal and unconstitutional. He is also seeking an order directing the respondents to facilitate and pay him US$308 000 or the equivalent in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate.
In a letter of response to Mr Mphoko’s demands, the Government through the Civil Division in the Attorney-General’s Office, said it will pay his pension in local currency in accordance with the prevailing laws of the country.
The letter, addressed to Mr Ncube stated that Mr Mphoko will not receive any other benefits that he is claiming.
“We take note of your application filed on 4 October 2019 and served on the Public Service Commission on 8 October 2019 then subsequently briefed out to us thereafter. However, our client’s attitude on the matter is that they will pay your client pension only as provided for in the constitution, and no other benefits. Furthermore, the payment will be effected in Zimbabwe dollars in accordance with the country’s prevailing laws,” reads part of the letter signed by Ms Rejoice Hove on behalf of the director of the Civil Division.
According the letter, the amount for Mr Mphoko’s pension will be subjected to computation by the Pensions Office in consultation with the SSB.
The AG’s Office also indicated that it will file opposing affidavits on behalf of the respondents despite being out of time in terms of the High Court Rules.
In his founding affidavit contained in the application, Mr Mphoko said having joined the civil service in October 1981, he was entitled to his benefits and pension.
“This is an application for a declaratur to declare unconstitutional the withholding of my pension by the respondents and for ancillary relief. I joined the civil service in October 1981 and served as an Ambassador of Zimbabwe to various countries. On December 10, 2014, I was appointed to the position of Vice President of the country, a position I held until I was removed from office in November 2017,” he said.
Mr Mphoko argued that in terms of section 102(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, he was entitled to a pension which is equivalent to the salary of a sitting Vice President.
“From the time I left office, I have not received a single dime in respect of my pension,” he said.
Mr Mphoko said despite approaching Dr Sibanda to assist him secure his benefits, there has been no joy prompting him to approach the courts for a declaratur.
He said in the event that salaries are adjusted before the order being sought is granted, the respondents should pay him at the prevailing interbank rate. The Chronicle