By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN teachers Friday confronted President Emmerson Mnangagwa with a slew of demands, top among them a review of their poor wages and other conditions of service.
This was after the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) delegation was granted rare audience with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State house following an earlier request.
They were led by PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou and secretary general Raymond Majongwe.
In their prepared presentation to the President, the militant teachers group said they were “disgruntled” that a teacher’s entry level salary remained a paltry $284 RTGS which they said was equal to US$80.
The teachers group said this was a slap in the face for members, as, according to their own calculations, a consumer basket for a family of six based on prevailing prices of basic commodities and other living costs stood at $3 086 per month.
PTUZ told the President that it will be difficult for teachers to report for work when school opens January 7.
The educators, who recently staged a street match in central Harare where they later petitioned Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube over their grievances, also queried government’s decision to calculate their bonus payments based on their salaries to the exclusion of allowances.
“While we acknowledge the timeous payment of bonus in 2018, it is our fortified view that the law of legitimate expectation was not followed because teachers expected bonus payment to include allowances.
“The government must pay the remaining portion of the bonus,” said PTUZ.
Over the years, members of the teachers group have been labelled anti-government elements while being associated with the opposition.
That has attracted a backlash from war veterans and other pro-Zanu PF militants who have victimised some of the teachers especially those in rural schools.
In their demands, they petitioned government to de-politise schools.
“We note with concern that during election times, teachers and learners are intimidated, learning disrupted and school property abused and vandalised,” said PTUZ, while also remonstrating with the country’s number one to stop the harassment of teachers by the state.
“Mr President, we note with concern that the new dispensation has continued with the harassment of union members just as in the previous regime,” said PTUZ.
The educators also asked government to avail land to teachers in various parts of the country to allow them to build homes and also start some income generating projects.
They also asked to be allowed as individuals to import at least one duty free vehicle, once every five years, as well as non-payment of tuition and levies for three children of a teacher at any school in Zimbabwe.
However, President Mnangagwa is said to have withheld his response to the demands saying he would first want to go through the demands before he could proffer a response.