By Staff Reporter
TEACHERS unions yesterday challenged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to probe the root causes of educators’ poverty instead of penalising them for supplementing their meagre salaries through paid-for extra lessons.
On Monday, Zacc spokesperson John Makamure said the anti-corruption body would sniff out teachers conducting extra lessons for a fee and have them prosecuted.
Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Tapedza Zhou said: “The first corruption that Zacc must address is the restoration of the US$540 pre-October 2018 salary which went down to US$35. That is the first corruption. Once it deals with that corruption there will be no extra lessons or corruption to talk about. Zacc must first deal with the restoration of teachers’ salaries. When you see teachers doing some extra lessons, it is because they are trying to address the gap between the original US$540 salary and the meagre wages that teachers are currently earning.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) President Obert Masaraure said Zacc had no capacity to stop the practice as it was a private arrangement between teachers and parents.
Masaraure said Zacc should assist public institutions to be more efficient and accountable for national resources.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said: “This country has high-profile corruption that has become a routine. And we have not seen Zacc acting in order to address such corruption. Zacc is majoring in the minor by concentrating on teachers who are getting US$5 for extra lessons. It is abuse of the commission. The intention is ill-conceived and very sinister. We urge Zacc to concentrate on major issues that have made this country to be in the current terminal ward rather than to focus on minor issues that can be even addressed by the Education ministry without necessarily enlisting the services of Zacc.”
But Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro insisted that extra lessons were illegal.
“There is no bigger corruption than trying to get underhand money unscrupulously while at the same time you are receiving a salary. When you receive salaries, you are already paid for the job that you are supposed to be doing. Extra lessons are legal as long as they are not paid for. Teachers are using a silly excuse that they are only trying to survive yet they get salaries and allowances for teaching,” Ndoro said.