Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) last turned down a request by war veterans employed by the local authority to get a number of perks including residential, agricultural and commercial stands at concessionary rates.
The war veterans employed by the local authority made the formal request following a meeting with the city’s Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, which among other things pushed for BCC to come up with a War Veterans Policy.
According to a council confidential report, the former freedom fighters also requested to be accorded the 20 percent quota in terms of local empowerment.
“As war veterans working under BCC which is an agency of the State of Zimbabwe, we humbly ask you to make sure all veterans are accorded the 20 percent in every sphere of empowerment, that is; stands at concessional rates for residential, agricultural and commercial, promotion of all war veterans, one grade up as per government custom.
“Recruitment of war veterans’ children, water and rates for war veterans who retire from council be discontinued, speedy formulation of war veterans policy by council, tabulating the war veteran recognition and benefits as per legislative mandate,” reads the report.
Further, the war veterans requested that their internal committee be given an official platform to negotiate issues affecting their welfare.
In responding to the request, the local authority noted that acceding to the request had the danger of setting the wrong precedence and would have financial implications on the city.
“I am of the view that for the avoidance of setting a precedent that may be difficult to replicate to other interest groups. On employment related matters, council should confine itself to negotiating through recognised employee representatives.
“For any benefits beyond such, I am of the opinion that the war veterans should approach the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, which co-ordinates issues relating to their welfare,” the Chamber Secretary, Mrs Sikhangele Zhou is quoted as saying.
It was further noted that some of the requests were already being implemented by the local authority including the allocation of stands to council staff.
“It is important that council maintains its levels of skills to promote efficiency and promotions should be based on merits. War veterans who have improved their skills in various ways should be considered for promotions like all other employees.
“Council respects the contribution of war veterans in the liberation of this country. Given that many candidates apply for posts in council, including children of war veterans who are not employed by council, it will be reasonable to give all recruits a fair chance,” reads the council report.
In turning down the request councillors claimed there was a need to cross check the credentials of those within council who claimed to be war veterans.
“The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mlandu Ncube, felt that it was likely to cause problems because each generation had people who had fought for something and they would also want to be recognised. All council employees should be treated the same. Council could not discount stands for war veterans or employ their children who were not qualified for the jobs.
“Clr Pilate Moyo concurred and said there was a need to assess the credentials of those people who called themselves war veterans because 40 years had passed since independence and most of them should have reached retirement age,” reads the report.
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