Thousands of teachers were left a disappointed lot on Tuesday after
failing to access their salaries at banks as the cash crisis persists.
The lucky ones got a maximum of $200 from the financial institutions and in cash-backs from supermarkets.
Long, winding queues reminiscent of the infamous 2008 cash shortages formed along most banks as teachers jostled to get their salaries. By the end of day, the queues were still present at the banks’ automated teller machines, with clients saying they were told there was no cash or being offered the South African rand.
“At one time, the bank had run out of cash. So we were just waiting in the queue. But now, they say they have secured the money, although we are yet to get it,” a teacher based in the rural areas, who requested anonymity, said. There are about 20 000 qualified teachers in Masvingo province.
A number of teachers got a maximum of $50, according to Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou, who blamed the Salary Services Bureau (SSB) for failing to release money on time, leaving banks to rely on deposits.
“Teachers travelled from rural areas expecting to go to their work stations since schools are about to open, but they did not get money. We are informed there was no money released by the SSB,” he said.
“Imagine, teachers have not been paid last year’s bonuses and now, we doubt if we will get bonuses on April 30 given that the government is struggling to pay their salaries.”
Zhou said if teachers failed to get bonuses, “schools may open, but they will be as good as closed”.
Schools open for the second term on Tuesday.
Recently, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said the cash shortage prevailing in the country had become a national issue and not a challenge for financial institutions alone. newsday