Some former Ziscosteel workers might get less than US$10 in pensions if their gratuities are paid at a US$1: ZW$1 rate as the Government indicated earlier.
In his submissions in Parliament, Mbizo MP, Settlement Chikwinya (CCC), requested Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza to come before parliament and state the roadmap for the revival of Ziscosteel.
Speaking in a recent interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Chikwinya urged the Government to consider the welfare of Ziscosteel pensioners who are suffering following the closure of the company several years ago. Said Chikwinya:
Parliament, government, Ziscosteel’s former workers and more importantly, the Kwekwe community want to understand and know when this national institution, in our economic recovery programme, is going to begin production.
They want to know when are the outstanding pensions of former Ziscosteel employees going to be paid off.
There is currently a standoff between the ex-Ziscosteel workers, who the government wants to pay in RTGS at a rate of US$1: ZW$1 for their pensions, which they accrued in US dollars.
It is very unfair, it is very cruel and it is very inhumane for someone who had US$30 000 in 2017 now to get paid ZW$30 000, which is less than US$10 in today’s value.
So we want the Minister to come to parliament and tell us how they expect Ziscosteel pensioners to survive and why the government wants to pay them in RTGS.
The Government recently approved Ziscosteel’s takeover by the Kuvimba Mining House company, a company linked to Kuda Tagwirei, a controversial businessman linked to ZANU PF.
Redcliff MP, Lloyd Mukapiko (MDC Alliance), said that Ziscosteel’s former employees should have been paid their gratuities in 2016. He said:
The issue of the Ziscosteel pension payout is a disturbing story. Ziscosteel workers were retrenched in 2016 according to the Pensions and Providence Funds Act.
Ziscosteel employees should then have been given their pensions within three months or 90 days of retrenchment.
They should have been paid their pensions in December 2016, but up to now, they have not been settled.
We received information through the FML Board of trustees indicating that the government, through the ministry of finance, had deposited $39 million in the FML account to disburse to beneficiaries in December 2021.
Considering that over 3 000 workers are supposed to have benefited, it means that each worker would have been given US$70 in pensions, which is quite sad.
There was an uproar and the money was not disbursed.