Pensioners’ measly US$30 payouts trigger more harm than good

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By Mary Taruvinga and Thandiwe Garusa

PENSIONERS in Zimbabwe are struggling to make ends meet, let alone access their monthly allowances at a time they are supposed to be resting having toiled for better parts of their lives.

On Friday, took time to move around the city and get first hand experiences from the elderly, who had come far and yonder to get their money.

Only two People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB) outlets, which disburse funds in the capital, were open resulting in long winding queues, and disorderly pitiful scenes in Harare’s CBD.

Some folks had travelled from rural homes, including Murewa, Goromonzi, Mutoko and Bindura, among other areas.

Others spent the night sleeping on pavements in a bid to beat the morning rush when banks open.

This is despite chronic illnesses which come with old age, the toil to lay their hands on the pittances disguised as pensions is gruelling.

In an interview, some pensioners said they were disappointed with government ill-treatment stating their rights must be respected.

“I was here around 6 am and I was number 300. When we arrived, we were told that there was no money for our Nostro accounts. We were only given ZW$5 000, which is barely enough to cover transport fares.

“They have just told us that the money is now available, however they are demanding US$2 notes from us as they do not have change, if you do not have the US$2 they will give you US$70 instead of US$88,” said Sekuru Chirawu (68), who travelled from Murehwa.

Another senior citizen, Sekuru Chiwara (69) who came from Marondera also appealed to authorities to decentralise pay points.

“The banks must open more branches around the country, where we come from there are POSB branches which are not working, we cannot be paying such huge amounts for bus fare to come here every month,” he said.

Most pensioners, formerly civil servants, have perennially raised numerous complaints against low payouts in recent years.

They are receiving allowances between US$30 and US$90 per month and an additional ZW$5 000.