‘Kangaroo’ govt to punish ‘incapacitated’ teachers for not reporting to work
Government has threatened to punish all the teachers who are failing to report while demanding that their salaries be paid in United States dollars.
Teachers declined to attend classes on Monday when schools were opened. Children were sent away again on Tuesday as teachers protested against poor salaries.
They are getting around ZWL 23 000 which is about US$100. But they are demanding to be paid US$540 which they were earning during the government of National Unity.
Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Tumisang Thabela released a statement on Tuesday threatening all striking teachers with disciplinary action. The Ministry accuses teachers of depriving learners of their right to education.
“It has come to the attention of the Permanent Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education that some officials did not report for duty when schools opened on 7 February 2022 as the 2022 school calendar.
“This unwarranted conduct deprived learners of their right to education as enshrined in Section 75 and 81 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Thabela said.
“Accordingly, Heads of Offices should take urgent disciplinary action against any of their members who obstructed the opening of schools and deprived learners of their constitutional right.
“Where necessary, Heads of Offices should charge and suspend such members at the school, district, provincial or national level and ensure that all due processes are followed as per Public Service Regulations 2000 as amended.
“Provincial Education Directors are hereby directed to provide a daily update on progress in handling the disciplinary cases in their respective provinces. Officials are reminded that the principle of “no work, no pay” shall apply where members failed to render their services.”
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Secretary General Raymond Majongwe slammed the government saying teachers were not on strike but incapacitated to report for duty.
“We made our point very clear that no teacher is on strike or was on strike. What teachers did was to communicate a very clear message to government that they are totally incapacitated to turn up or report for duty as of the seventh,” he said.
“The truth of the matter is, what the government is doing is that they are purely shooting themselves in the foot and technically they are proving to us that they are not keen on solving the problems that the teachers have submitted to them.
“Teachers are suffering. They can’t pay school fees for their children, feed themselves. Teachers can’t take themselves to hospitals and the most important point here is it’s purely a situation of a person who is telling someone to travel to Hwange and they don’t capacitate them to travel.
“All they do is to say, on the 14th of February I want to see you in Hwange and you don’t give that person fuel or the car or bus fare. And when they then fail to turn up you then say I’m going to charge you yet you did not give this person equipment to travel.”
He added that the union was ready to defend teachers in court if they are charged for job action.
“So, as far as we are concerned, teachers are simply incapacitated and government cannot charge anyone because they must know that there are substantive procedural technicalities that they must institute.
“If they charge them, we are ready to defend them because we know the technical landscape through which we will be able to defend our members because they can’t proceed in the kangaroo manner that they want to put forward.” Nehanda Radio