Mnangagwa offers cash incentives to Zim govt workers to block strikes

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa.
President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
  • Government workers in Zimbabwe are set to earn an extra R2 800 on top of their local dollar salaries.
  • A proposal for free education for the children of teachers has been tabled.
  • President Emmerson Mnangagwa also promised to build 34 000 apartment units for teachers in the next five years.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has made a mouth-watering proposition to teachers in a bid to avert a catastrophic strike by government workers who say their salaries have been eroded by inflation.

The president made the offer on Tuesday, a day after teachers downed tools on the first day of the new school year. They demanded salaries of at least R10 736 (about US$671).

Currently, the lowest paid teacher in Zimbabwe takes home around the equivalent of R1 000 (US$60). That's the same average for all government workers, including nurses, soldiers and police officers.

While members of the army and police cannot strike, there have been numerous cases of banditry linked to serving officers in the past year.

READ | Mugabe-era Zimbabweans who fled to Botswana lose political refugee status after court ruling

In a bid to appease government workers, Mnangagwa said civil servants will get a 20% salary raise and an incentive of US$175 in foreign currency.

"... a 20% salary increase in the Zimbabwe dollar salary component, backdated to 1 January, will be implemented across the board. US$100 will be paid to every civil servant with effect from the 1st of March 2022. This will be done through the conversion of a corresponding Zimbabwe dollar salary amount into hard currency, bringing the foreign currency amount to US$175," the president said in a statement.

Mnangagwa's foreign currency offer flies in the face of the mid-term monetary policy review by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya, who had said the government had no capacity to pay civil servants' salaries in foreign currency.

"In any case, the financial system is largely constituted of local currency, with around 56% of total deposits being local currency and the balance of 44% being foreign currency deposits, which shows that there is no sufficient foreign currency liquidity to support dollarisation in Zimbabwe," Mangudya said in his monetary policy statement.

READ | With R2500, we can smuggle you into SA - Zimbabwe traffickers

Last week, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube dangled the carrot of incentives for the use of the deteriorating and unfavoured Zimbabwean dollar, but teachers increased calls for foreign currency-pegged salaries.

While the offer tabled to civil servants falls short of their minimum demand of R10 736, the government has availed other incentives. This includes no school fees for the children of teachers, and duty-free car imports for the whole civil service.

"No monetary benefits include payment of school fees for up to three biological children per teaching family, with an upper limit of ZW$20 000 (R1 600) per child per term, paid directly to the school," the president said on Tuesday.

Currently, only the children of veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence enjoy free education. War veterans are a stakeholder in the political matrix of the country.

Mnangagwa promised to build 34 000 units for teachers in 2 125 blocks of flats in the next five years. He also vowed to provide free transport for teachers.

The impromptu offer from the government came after it had initially threatened a "no work, no pay" policy for teachers who had downed tools on Monday.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Who do you think should accept responsibility for the dire state of Eskom’s power system?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Eskom’s current management must take the fall
4% - 205 votes
Previous bosses from Zuma years are to blame
33% - 1863 votes
Mantashe and govt have been asleep at the wheel
31% - 1763 votes
There are many culprits; it’s a complex situation
33% - 1868 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.