Sunday, 17 September 2017


POLICE last week stopped a march by teachers who intended to protest the continued deduction of money from some civil servants’ salaries through the Salary Services Bureau (SSB) stop order system by loan sharks.

The teachers allege that the money is being deducted from their earnings ostensibly to service non-existent loans without their prior approval. One of the loan sharks fingered in the alleged scam is McDowells International (Pvt) Limited, which has since been liquidated.

The teachers, led by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) had planned to conduct their protest march in Harare on Thursday last week. Plans were to march to the SSB and Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare where they would deliver petitions over the continued deduction of money from Government workers salaries. However, police could not sanction the march citing shortage of manpower to cover the demonstration.

In a letter of notification to the union, Officer Commanding Harare Central District Chief Superintendent Jasper Chizemo advised the union to reschedule the protest march. “We make regard to your letter of 5th of September 2017 in which you expressed your intentions to march and deliver petitions to the Paymaster at Chaminuka Building as well as Minister of Labour at Compensation House on 14 September at 1100 hours. On the day of the intended march, the Police District will be handling other activities of national interest where deployment of police officers is a priority.

“As a result we will not be able to provide coverage and protection to yourselves and other members of the society against rowdy elements of the society who may intervene and commit crimes. Your attention is also drawn to section 27 (a) of the Public Order and Security Act 11:17. You are therefore advised to revisit your plans and adjust accordingly as police will be busy on the day of the intended demonstration,” reads the letter.

PTUZ has been on record vowing that it would pursue the matter (deductions) to its logical conclusion. Last month the union wrote to President Mugabe and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya asking for a probe into the matter.

This came after the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, whom the union had initially engaged, said it could not act on the matter which had been ruled on by the courts. Several civil servants, mostly teachers, claim they have been made to pay monthly premiums to service loans from McDowells which they would not have taken.

Those that took loans from the company claim that the loan shark continues to deduct money from their salaries despite them having finished paying off the loans. Some claim they are taking home as little as $0,73 after deductions.


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