The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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      Zimbabwe TV slams UK poll 'fraud'
      Zimbabwe state media have criticised the recent election in the United
Kingdom, saying it involved fraud.
      Zimbabwe Television's (ZTV) Friday evening bulletin spoke of "a lack
of transparency, suppression of media freedoms and fraud" in the UK poll.

      International observers have accused Zimbabwe of fraud and
intimidation in elections in recent years.

      President Robert Mugabe's campaigning has frequently singled out the
UK and Prime Minister Tony Blair as enemies.

      The ZTV report interviewed members of the public who said Britain had
no right to tell African countries how to run democratic elections when the
UK poll was characterised by lack of transparency.

      Black boxes

      Similar allegations were made in the Saturday midday bulletins.

      The reports identified the UK's use of black ballot boxes - as opposed
to translucent ones used in Zimbabwe - and the use of postal voting as
problem areas.

      The conduct of the UK election "raises a lot of questions about the
democracy preached by the British," ZTV reported.

      Thursday's election in the UK secured a third successive term of
office for Mr Blair's Labour Party, although with a smaller majority than in
the previous two elections.

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Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2005 5:42 PM
Subject: Faces and spaces

Dear Family and Friends,

The moon was still up and a handful of stars shone in the sky when I left
home before dawn on Friday morning. It didn't take me long to get to the
petrol queue and I coasted into place behind an old Peugeot. There were
more cars coming in behind me and all were saving precious fuel, switching
off their engines and rolling down into the queue. I had bought a book but
it was still too dark to read so I locked my car and walked along the line
to see how many cars were in front of me and tried to work out how long it
might be before I got to the front. There were 22 vehicles ahead of me and
in almost all of them the drivers were huddled under jackets and blankets,
asleep. The petrol station whose big sign boasts "24 hour" service, was
actually closed. It would only open at 6 am and even then it wouldn't
really be open because they had no fuel to sell anyway.

We were all queuing on the back of a rumour that had persisted for over 24
hours that a petrol delivery was imminent. The tanker hadn't arrived yet
but still the people waited. The latest rumour was that the tanker driver
had a puncture and was delayed in Harare but that had been many many hours
earlier but, in true Zimbabwean fashion, we were ever hopeful and so we

Just after dawn broke I saw a man walking along the fence line of the
petrol station. He was thin and barefoot and his clothes were very dirty
but he was intent and kept bending down and carefully picking weeds. He
wasn't pulling out the weeds, which I know as Blackjacks, but breaking off
the younger leaves at the tops of the plants and collecting them carefully
in a bunch.  The cooked leaves of young Blackjacks are edible and in
amongst the plastic bags, crisp packets , cigarette ends and street
litter, the man was obviously collecting food. Soon he had a large bundle
of leaves in his hands and left.

As the light of day increased, the queue at the petrol station became a
jungle. Young men with dreadlocks and backwards baseball caps came in cars
with blaring radios.  First they cruised the line, looking at faces and
spaces, and then they stopped wherever they decided they were going to
jump the queue, pointing their cars at the place they intended to squeeze
in. Petrol pump attendants, waiting to have something to do, find
themselves as the most sought after and popular people and it doesn't take
much looking to see money changing hands and notes being tucked into
pockets. A momentary diversion from the boredom and the waiting came with
four women of the night who strut and swagger alongside the queue in skin
tight jeans and high heels. The contrast between the man picking
Blackjacks and the women with crimson and bright blue highlights in their
hair, is stark and surreal.

As the day got hotter and the sun higher, still the tanker didn't come and
people started giving up. I gave up after three hours. A fruitless line
for a few litres of petrol seemed a far cry from the incessant crowing on
the propaganda TV and radio all week about our newly acquired Chinese
aeroplanes. If the propaganda is to be believed these two new aeroplanes
are going to "turnaround" the economy, "revive tourism" and flood the
country with foreign currency. I can't help wondering if these Chinese
planes also need fuel to operate as frankly the irony of new planes and no
fuel is just too staggering.
Until next week, love cathy Copyright cathy buckle  7th May 2005
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Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2005 12:41 AM
Subject: A cost-benefit analysis of the past 25 years

A cost-benefit analysis of the past 25 years

By John Robertson

After 25 years of independence, we Zimbabweans should be feeling proud about
our achievements and eager to boast about our social, economic and political
progress. Sadly, we can share feelings of honest pride in very little.

If anything, the comparisons we can all make between the benefits and costs
of recent events should generate anger, rather than pride.

So many things have gone wrong, become worse, failed or fallen apart, and so
few things have improved that we all know which group would form the longer
list. Worse than that, the few things that a few people might say are
improvements would be disputed, if not rejected outright by almost everybody

In other words, narrowly subjective opinions apply to most of the claimed
benefits, but broadly objective facts describe the horrendous costs that
have been inflicted on all but a privileged few.

A good place to start is the value of our savings and our currency. People
who cautiously saved for whatever reason have seen even respectable sums
turned into almost valueless waste paper. Well-run countries have stable
currencies. A measure of how well Zimbabwe has been run is that our currency
has lost 99% of its value since the beginning of 2001. This is not a matter
of opinion, it is a cold fact revealed by simple, dispassionate arithmetic.

Almost the identical figure is reached by comparing our past and present
official exchange rates against the US dollar. This was Z$55 to one US
dollar at the beginning of 2001 and had reached Z$5 700 by the end of 2004.
As 55 is less than one hundredth of 5 700, the dollar at the end of 2004 had
the value of a January 2001 cent. The exchange rates prove that we now need
more than a hundred times as many Zimbabwe dollars to buy one US dollar.

Our gross domestic product in 2001 was about Z$654 billion and in 2004 it
was about Z$31 700 billion, a 48-fold increase. Most of the gap between 48
and 100 is accounted for by the shrinkage of our economy, and this ties in
with estimates that our economy is now only about half the size it was in

Zimbabwe might have broken a few world records with this achievement. This
is simply because no other country appears to have suffered such a sharp
decline without having been attacked by a ruthless foreign enemy or by
domestic insurgents. A war has been waged in Zimbabwe, but it was not the
result of an attack by an external enemy and neither was it because of an
attack from within.

What has happened in Zimbabwe is best described as the effects of a ruling
party decision to withdraw the protection of the law from a specific
economic bloc - the collection of large-scale business enterprises usually
referred to simply as Zimbabwe's commercial farms. Then the same party
enthusiastically joined in the resulting looting and pillaging of the
unprotected business assets.

Their attempts to formalise and legitimise their actions through
constitutional amendments and new Acts of Parliament have not brought as
much as a hint of legitimacy or morality to their actions. Neither have they
offset the massive injustices inflicted on the people whose personal
endeavours, sacrifices and lifetime commitments had created the businesses
that were mostly destroyed by the aggressive confiscation process.

The claimed benefits that were said to have emerged from this now amount to
almost nothing. Apart from homesteads acquired for nothing by political
heavyweights, the changes have created small farms in place of big farms,
but they all need subsidies that the country cannot afford.

Vast areas of the country that used to deliver large tonnages of valuable
crops and earned considerable sums in foreign exchange are now delivering,
at best, a little comfort to some of the resettled families.

Statistics are usually too cold and impersonal to convey the facts about the
human consequences of bad decisions, but in Zimbabwe these are glaringly
obvious to everyone. Hundreds of thousands of people used to have jobs on
the farms, regular cash incomes, houses for their families, schools for
their children and clinics that could help them stay healthy.

What is left of these barely rates a mention, but the losses to the affected
people are profound. Very few of the family heads have found alternative
jobs or accommodation, most have had to settle for subsistence farming or
charity and millions of children have seen their prospects of a reasonable
education destroyed.

Vagrants and street-children are now far more numerous in the urban areas
and the appalling conditions have dramatically reduced life-expectancy
across wide swathes of the population.

The architects of the chaotic conditions focus only on the relatively small
number of farmers they have displaced. They dismiss as irrelevant the wider
social issues, but the destruction of about four thousand large-scale
farming businesses has impacted directly upon about 400 000 employees,
suppliers and customers and indirectly upon every other member of Zimbabwe's
12 million population.

Zimbabwe's ruling party will go down in history, not for recovering for the
country's population of 12 million the land that was sparsely inhabited by
half a million people a century earlier, but for wiping out the benefits of
decades of painstaking development that had brought benefits to everyone.

Food production has fallen to about a third of our requirements, investment
inflows have almost stopped and very few of the 1,5 million school-leavers
of the past five years have yet found the kind of employment they need.

In 2005, Zimbabwe is producing fewer manufactured goods than it produced in
1971 when our population was less than half its size today. And this year
our export revenue is likely to closely match the US dollar values of our
exports of 23 years ago in 1982.

The Zimbabwe dollar/US dollar currency conversions for 1982 are not
difficult because during that year our respective dollars were almost of
equal value. Now you will need lots of luck or good connections to buy a US
dollar for Z$6 070, and if you are not one of the fortunate few, the price
will be closer to Z$15 000 each.

Having seen our exports fall back to the values of 23 years ago, we can now
afford to pay for imports of only that value too, but our situation is even
worse than that. Back then we had a perfect debt service record, so we had
credit lines, foreign loans and aid donations to help pay for imports. We
could therefore cope with temporary set-backs like poor harvests.

Now our overdue debt repayments and debt service arrears have pushed our
country risk and credit ratings to the lowest levels possible on their
respective scales. We are getting no balance of payments support, budget
support or commercial loans and we must now pay cash in advance for just
about everything we import. Food imports can be paid for only by cutting the
imports of just about everything else, so shortages of all kinds are
mounting by the day.

Our crippled economy is certainly nothing to be proud about. Policies
deliberately chosen and spitefully enforced on our long-suffering population
have been backward-looking, destructive and painfully inappropriate. The
costs are mounting still, even as the claimed benefits rapidly crumble away.

We should now be considering the potential costs and benefits of an angry
response to the ruling party's callous abuse of its power. It is long

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Iran Mania

      African mining project with Iran to be operational

      Saturday, May 07, 2005 - ©2005

      LONDON, May 7 (IranMania) - The only overseas mining project involving
Iranian companies would become operational in Africa next year, said a
senior Ministry of Industries and Mines official here on Friday.

      Hedayatollah Aqaei, deputy minister for mining affairs, told ISNA that
Iran owns 51% stakes of the bauxite alumina mine in the Guinea.

      The Guinean government takes 49% shares of the mine, whose products
will be transferred to Iran for processing, he added.

      "Mining Development and Renovation Organization of Iran has taken
charge of the mine and is planning to extract bauxite alumina in Guinea and
process it in Iran,"

      he said, stressing that Iran has invested $25 mln in the mining

      The official said the project needs no further investments by Iran,
adding that the Guinean government is required to make new investments in
the transportation section of the project.

      "There are very many good mines in some African and Asian countries
and Iranian companies can invest in mining projects there," he said, adding
that Iran could extract minerals from these mines and then process them at
home in order to create jobs.

      Aqaei said Iran is studying investment opportunities in Zimbabwe,
Sudan and Greece, adding that the priority has been given to domestic mines
as far as extracting gold is concerned.

      Greater trade ties with Africa have always been a high priority on
Iran's foreign policy agenda. In recent years, the government has been
striving to prepare the ground for Iranian businesses to boost non-oil
exports to Africa.

      Given the high transportation costs involved in the export of goods to
Africa, the government will undertake some of these costs to encourage

      The Khatami administration has approved $450 mln for economic
activities in Africa.

      The funds will be used to boost exports to Africa and cover relevant

      In the first phase of the program, some $300 mln would be channeled
from the Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund to finance export of goods and
technical and engineering services to Africa as well as for implementing
several projects in that continent.

      The government's Africa Headquarters was established in early 2004.
Trade between Iran and Africa totaled a meager $280 mln in the year to March

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

ZCTU battle spills into court

Takunda Maodza
issue date :2005-May-07

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) was on Wednesday granted an
interim peace order by the Harare Magistrates' court against affiliates
challenging its leadership, as the power struggle in the 300 000-member
union deepens.
The ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe, its president Lovemore
Matombo, Lucia Matibenga, and Thabitha Khumalo are the applicants in the
matter.  Langton Mugeji and Nicholas Mazarura of the Zimbabwe Leather Shoes
and Allied Workers Union, and the Construction and Allied Workers Union of
Zimbabwe respectively, were cited as first and second respondents.
Part of the interim relief granted by the court on May 4 2005 reads: "This
order operates with full force and effect as if were a final peace order
pending the return date restraining the respondents to forthwith desist
breaching applicant's peace and that should the respondents breach this
order they should be arrested by any duly attested member of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police and brought before the Court for contempt of Court."
In his founding affidavit seeking the peace order, Chibebe, the first
applicant in the case, claimed the business of the ZCTU was under continuous
interruption from the respondents.
He alleged that on March 19, 2005, Matombo convened an executive meeting at
a Harare hotel the respondents disrupted.
"It is during this meeting when the first respondent (Mugeji) instilled fear
in me by stating that I can disappear at any time. He also uttered words to
the effect that the second applicant's leadership is illegitimate, that he
should not lead the ZCTU and had used his position for personal political
ambitions and that if he continues to conduct ZCTU business he will be
putting his life into danger," Chibebe said.
He alleged Mugeji also threatened Matibenga saying her days were numbered
before advancing on Khumalo.
"The first respondent advanced towards the fourth applicant (Khumalo) and
grabbed her throat threatening that he was going to kill her. He was later
restrained by ZCTU security officer Mr Joseph Nyarambi and other members of
the general council, namely Collin Gwiyo and Ngirazi," Chibebe said.
He further claimed that Mugeji hired hooligans comprising full time
employees of some unions and unemployed youths to disrupt the meeting.
Mugeji and Mazarura allegedly verbally threatened Chibebe and Matombo at the
same venue on April 6 during the ZCTU prepatory meeting for the Wokers Day.
Chibebe said Mugeji also accused Matombo of maladministration and of causing
the current shortage of basic commodities.
"The first respondent later advanced towards the third applicant
(Matibenga). He pointed a finger at her charging that she was non-existent,
illegitimate and that he was going to finish her. He tried to uplift a chair
to strike her but was restricted by one of the general council members, Mr
Ngirazi," Chibebe said, adding Mugeji also threw a glass of water at Khumalo
and threatened to deal with her.
He said the meeting was consequently aborted, as it had turned violent.
Mugeji is further accused of disrupting a ZCTU meeting at a Bulawayo Hotel
on April 23 2005 organised by Matombo for presentation of reports from the
secretary general, the treasurer and committees.
Said Chibebe: "The first respondent interjected when the second applicant
had called for the adoption of the agenda. He told the
 second applicant he was illegitimate. Subsequently a group of hired
hooligans from Harare forced their way into the conference room. They
manhandled second applicant and dragged him out of the conference room."
He added:"The first respondent advanced towards me, verbally and physically
assaulting me. He then hit me on the mouth with his clenched fists."
Mugeji and Mazarura allegedly instructed the hooligans to drag Matibenga out
of the conference room, which they did.
Chibebe also accused Mugeji of assaulting Khumalo with clenched fists at the
same meeting leading her to report the matter to Bulawayo Central Police.
The respondents were arrested and later released after paying admission of
guilty fines.
Chibebe said the Bulawayo meeting was reconvened with police intervention,
noting the respondents' threats and assaults were unprovoked.
".At all material times, both respondents conducted themselves in a rowdy
manner, exhibiting unwarranted threatening behaviour towards the applicants
and that made all our meetings aborted," said Chibebe.  "I now fear for my
Chibebe's claims were supported by affidavits from Matombo, Matibenga and
Mugeji and Mazarura are yet to respond to the allegations.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

'Commissioners misled'

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-07

IN a new turn of events to the capital's water woes, it emerged yesterday
that Harare City Council commissioners were misinformed on Thursday that
Highdon Investments - contracted to supply 1 000 tonnes of water treatment
chemicals - had made available a paltry 29 tonnes resulting in the
commission's decision to dump middlemen.
Sources close to the on goings in the council told The Daily Mirror that
instead, Highdon Investments had since last January supplied council with
440 tonnes of algae kill, with the latest delivery of 55,2 tonnes (delivery
notes numbers 1 424 and 1 425) made yesterday.
The sources alleged that the water treatment chemical procurement had turned
political, as some commissioners were determined to revisit a contract won
by Highdon Investments to effectively overturn a earlier council resolution
that awarded the contract-a move they said would be unprocedural.
Highdon Investments, the sources said, was contracted on the strength that
it had the capacity to deliver and it was puzzling why council had gone out
of its way to falsify the tonnage of water chemicals delivered.
Yesterday, an official with the company said: "We do not do business in the
newspapers. Find out from council. We have our records," the official said.
Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi yesterday declined to comment on the
matter saying he would issue a statement on the matter in due course.
According to media reports, the city commissioners gave Highdon Investments
an ultimatum of up to May 31 to honour the supply contract, or it would be
terminated.  It also resolved to stop using middlemen in procuring the algae
kill, and buying it directly from manufacturers.
"That council management places Highdon Investments on terms for the supply
and delivery of the oxidizing agent within a specified time frame. Failure
to meet the terms set would result in the cancellation of the contract,"
read minutes adopted by the council on Thursday.
The commissioners made the resolutions after deliberating on council minutes
dated April 11 2005, which claimed that the private firm had supplied only
29 tonnes of algae in the first four months of this year against an order of
1 000 tonnes.
This was, however, despite the advise of commissioner Terrance Hussein - a
lawyer - that splitting the tender after it was awarded to Highdon
Investments would be problematic for the city council.
Hussein recommended that council assess the firm's performance and recommend
accordingly by month end.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Mpofu tipped for top party post

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-May-07

THE newly appointed Minister of Industry and International Trade and former
Matabeleland North Governor, Obert Mpofu, is tipped to take over as Zanu PF's
provincial chairperson for the province.
Impeccable sources in the ruling party, told The Daily Mirror yesterday that
Mpofu - the only Zanu PF legislator in the province - would take over from
acting chairperson, Headman Moyo.
Moyo became the caretaker leader of Zanu PF in Matabeleland North after the
suspension of Jacob Mudenda for chairing the infamous Tsholotsho meeting,
which also claimed the scalps of five other provincial chairpersons.
 "The party's national secretary for commissariat, Elliot Manyika is
expected to dissolve the provincial executive any time from now.  A number
of the current provincial executive members attended the Tsholotsho meeting
and the party wants to get rid of such people," a senior ruling party
official told The Daily Mirror.
A number of the provincial executive, including newly appointed governor and
politburo member Thoko Mathuthu, were linked to the Tsholotsho debacle
allegedly convened at the behest of sacked junior minister Jonathan Moyo to
scuttle the nomination of Joyce Mujuru into the party's presidency. "There
is fear within the ruling party that Moyo might manipulate the executive as
his spring board to come back into the party. There is need that all Moyo's
remnants in the province be destroyed," added another source.
Manyika could neither confirm nor deny that Mpofu was destined for the party's
provincial chairmanship, but hinted that elections for the post were on the
cards."I cannot speculate on anything, but what I know is that we still have
to set dates for elections in provinces where the (provincial) elections are
supposed to be held," Manyika said.
He added that the elections for suspended chairpersons would be held in some
provinces, while others would simply co-opt suitable leaders.
Efforts to get a comment from Mpofu at the time of going to print last night
were in vein.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Evicted former farm workers granted relief

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-07

THE Goromonzi Magistrates Court on Thursday granted temporary relief to
families that were ejected from Chabwino Farm through a provisional order it
issued against their eviction.
The former farm workers went to court represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR), a day after the police allowed them back into their
The human rights lawyers said the court action was meant to safeguard their
clients against future unlawful eviction.
The provisional order reads in part: "Respondents and all those acting
through them are hereby restrained and interdicted from evicting applicants
and all those claiming occupation through them from their homes at Chabwino
Farm in Goromonzi. That any duly attested member of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police be and is hereby authorised to serve this order upon the first
In the application for ex parte interdict, Fernando Albino and 14 others are
the applicants, while Itai Charungu (a member of the neighbourhood watch),
the district administrator for Goromonzi (name not given), the Officer in
charge Juru and police commissioner Augustine Chihuri are the respondents.
In the founding affidavit, Albino said that sometime in 2000 the farm was
designated for resettlement and about 30 families benefited.
He added that on May 1 this year, a group of people clad in police uniform
led by Charungu went to their homes and forcibly evicted them saying the
property did not belong to them.Albino said he managed to positively
identify one of the culprits as a policeman based at Juru Police Station.
 "We humbly submit that we are being threatened with eviction yet people
have already been resettled on the farm with adequate space to construct
their own dwellings and we have been staying in our homes since their
resettlement for some years now. We are now living under threats of
eviction, with some of us having been told to leave by the 8th of May 2005,"
Albino said in his affidavit.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

Dear JAG,

Lowveld News 4th May 2005

Most of the cane and game farmers who remain here have coexisted with the
A2's or settlers to be able to earn a living in the hopes that change would
come soon in the form of a new government. These farmers are now been
targeted and more of their land is being pegged, many have lost all their
remaining land and equipment. Some farmers have been approached by
government officials and told that if they relinquish their title deeds and
drop all cases against the government and settlers they will be given a

This week a delegation of police with government officials have barged onto
farms and businesses in Chiredzi and made inventories of farmers equipment,
saying that they would get offer letters later on. When the delegation came
to my premises I refused to sign the inventory of the equipment that was in
my yard, this resulted in some threats and a police constable has been left
to guard the equipment. I was also told that there were no white farmers
only ex white farmers in Zimbabwe.

There is very little maize meal in the lowveld and people having anything
to do with the MDC get none what so ever, even the lower ranks in ZANU are
having problems getting food now.


Gerry Whitehead


Letter 2

Dear JAG,

Has student activism in Zimbabwe died a natural death? The country's
universities and colleges used to produce icon after icon. Arthur
Mutambara, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Tendai Biti, Obey Mudzingwa, Brian Kagoro,
Job Sikhala, Learnmore Jongwe, Nelson Chamisa, Daniel Molokela and many
others. Then the conveyer belt stopped. What happened? This week on Behind
the Headlines, Lance Guma speaks to Nelson Chamisa, MDC National Youth
Chairman and Daniel Fortune Molokela an activist now based in South Africa.
Both are former student leaders and discuss what went wrong. Is the student
movement being marginalised in politics? Is this why mass action seems
remote? Is there division between workers and students on the way forward?
Don't miss the answers, Thursday 28 April 2005, between 8:00-8:30pm.
Listeners online can either listen live or access the archives after

Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa



Letter 3

Dear JAG,

The information and advice provided regarding the wages and allowances of
domestic workers is appreciated. However there is another aspect of the
increase which warrants urgent attention.

I am referring to the impact that the increase will have on the gratuities
payable on termination of employment.

There must be many employers who have long-serving domestic workers and who
will now be faced with having to pay out large, unaffordable, sums of money
when services are terminated. Many of such employers, like myself, have
been pensioners for many years and pension increases have lagged far behind
the rate of inflation.

Using the newly-gazetted wage figures to calculate the gratuity, the
resultant amount is now several million dollars for employees with more
than 20 years about panic in the home!

I would be interested to know whether there was any amendment to the method
of calculating the gratuity as set out in S.I. 377 of 1992.

Instead of using the final wage in the calculation, the use of an average
of the monthly wages over a period of years would seem to be more

If notice to terminate employment on 30 April was given by an employer on
or before the 31 March, what effect would this have, if any, on the
calculation of the gratuity?

I would be grateful for any information or advice on these matters.


Ernest Goodall

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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