Published On: Thu, Jan 5th, 2017

Zimbabwean pensioners cry foul

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 Simon Munyoro

After years of hard work it is a norm that an employer rewards his servant in appreciation.

However, most pensioners in Zimbabwe especially those in the private sector do not have any reason to cherish their years of work due to the deplorable packages they are receiving.

“I joined the work in 1986 and retired in 2009, for the twenty three years of labor investment I was paid only two hundred and seventy three dollars .Efforts to rectify the issue resulted in seeking the intervention of the Pensioner’s Union trust Of Zimbabwe (PUTZ) who also struck a brick wall after being informed that I had received my dues through the bank,’’said Naison Mlambo.

When contacted for comment the PUTZ President , Tawanda Zhanje confirmed the issue and noted that a lot of private sector employees are being paid peanuts by their former employers.
‘‘It is deplorable circumstance which we seek government’s urgent intervention, most of these challenges are a result of weak regulation governing the private sector and dealing with the challenges requires revisiting the Pension and Provident act in order to realign it to the demands of this era’s pensioners’, we have been dealing with such issues for some time but making a breakthrough is quite difficult due to general lack of cooperation from stakeholders,’’ he said.
Most Pensioners especially in the non formal sector are faced with challenges that include not knowing how to claim their benefits, failure to access loans thereby suffer a lot at the mercy of their former paymasters.
As explained by John Chinobukira called on the authorities to immediately look into the matter.
’’Government must urgently take our plight into consideration, imagine I worked for Windmill for more than twenty years before retiring on medical grounds but only received one thousand seven hundred dollars in lump sum benefits with the remainder being commutated to forty seven dollars a month, what worries me is that despite the small amount I contributed to NSSA I receive sixty dollars a month which is more than the actual pension monthly payout,’’ he said.
Another pensioner, Mr Runzayi who spoke to the Report Focus said after decades of hard work he now received a monthly payment of eleven dollars payout from ex-employer ,Die and Pressure Casting Pension Fund.
“All I am told is that I contributed towards pension in the Zimbabwe Dollar era so the savings were eroded during the hyperinflation period,’’he said.
An assessment of the private sector pension land scope bears clear evidence that there is need for realignment of policies.
Zimbabwe Insurance and Pension Trust Chairperson Martin Tarusenga blamed the lack of clear regulation as the cause of the demise.
‘‘There is need for the Insurance and Pension Commission to effectively supervise pension funds and consider the plight of the old because they contributed immensely to our economy,”he said.
He added that the worrying fact is that the contributions made by most of the pensioners during the Zimdollar era were invested in most immovable assets which are owned by most of these Pension Councils and yet they don’t acknowledge that fact,.