COVID-19 frontliners unpaid for 8 months

Source: COVID-19 frontliners unpaid for 8 months – NewsDay Zimbabwe


HEALTH workers at Beitbridge COVID-19 quarantine centres have gone for eight months without pay.

Reliable sources from the Public Service Commission confirmed that government was struggling to clear the arrears and service other debts.

“It is true that we have not paid some of our service providers, including those at Beitbridge quarantine centres,” the source said.

This is despite the workers have been handling thousands of returnees from South Africa who pay in foreign currency.

One of the quarantine centres in Beitbridge is the National Social Security Authority building, which used to be the Beitbridge Rainbow Hotel and has handled thousands of returnees from neighbouring South Africa.

There have been reports that several people have fled from the centres. Government has out-sourced some of the services at the centre.

At the moment, it houses only six inmates on isolation and 11 deportees awaiting COVID-19 test results.  They are all under the Social Welfare Department care.

Other workers, who are yet to receive the allowances include Beitbridge council’s health department staff seconded to COVID-19 hotspots and the rapid response team, which includes the municipality’s fire brigade unit.

Public Service Commission secretary Simon Masanga yesterday said responding to the media was not a priority.

“You (the media) are not a priority. I am in a meeting,” Masanga said yesterday.

Masanga later assigned an official from the department who confirmed the salary arrears.

“We are working towards settling the amount that we owe,” the official said without disclosing the amount.

“We thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will be engaging Treasury to sort this out,” he said on behalf of Masanga.