The wage of sin is death and one reaps what he or she sows- these have been the adages that have made so many people in Zimbabwe and in Africa at large to invest much of their energy results i.e the hard earned monies through their working days, with some going for as far as over time in anticipation of having a bumper financial harvest that will sustain them after they have become weary or retired.
However in Zimbabwe these anticipations have been turned into anticipations-that-never-were, as those expecting to reap what they sow, they have become more of an eye-sore to the government and what they are reaping after years of sowing is just but next to none, especially in this economy were the RTGS are devaluing every day.
After a long time investments by these old age with the view that one day they would just be able to access their money, all has gone in vain especially with the fact that those who control the pension funds have grown to be self-centered, selfish and egocentric so much so that accessing money by pensioners have become a torrid time.
Some are spending nights sleeping outside the bank with the hope of accessing the money which is coming in small amounts that usually can only sustain bus fare considering that the majority is coming from rural areas, and with a family left behind expecting to survive from the pension
As most of the young family members are unemployed. With this in mind, as a sane and rational government, action is needed to solve these challenges facing the pensioners which have been seen by both the blind and the dead.
Recognition of senior citizens who are on pension would and is going to be one of the major solutions that would curb the outcry that is becoming so loud like a war cry from the unconfident team.
This means there is need for the government to cater for this group when it comes to their transport welfare. With the introduction of the ZUPCO as a government owned transport system, there is need for the government to provide free transport for these now “vulnerable” group that is existing in partial recognition by the government.
The provision of transport will clearly reduce the burden of transport costs that are known to be chewing their hard earned and less provided pension by simply removing the psychological trauma of wanting to balance the money that can be easily calculated even by an ECD child.
Considering that the nation is going through an economic quagmire that might not give it the strength and capability to provide the pensioners with meaningful funds, it might be of paramount importance to introduce grocery allowance or tokens that will provide or make them have access to the basic food commodities that can sustain them for the month in addition to the so called money they are receiving.
At most, the provision of groceries will at least reduce the burden that is supposed to be carried by the small amount they are receiving. Thus they will end up feeling recognized, since they do not need much but only need what will sustain them or simply what is basic.
More, so the increase or increment of their monthly dues or maintaining that same value but in US$, since some pension houses which have been invested by this pensioners are enjoying the proceeds of these old age.
With all the investment that have been made by these pension funds in Zimbabwe using the proceeds from their labor, how come now that the pension funds like MIPF, NRZ, COMMUNICATIONS AND ALLIED INDUSTRY PENSION FUND as well as NSSA are failing to offer the pensioners the much needed US$ than the RTGS$ that has not been stable.
The Pensioners Voice seeks to ensure that NSSA restores the pensioners dignity in the society by paying decent pension payouts not the paltry $RTGS30 to $RTGS80 which they are receiving. NSSA is paying its executive more than $150000 a month in salaries and allowances yet it is busy abusing the pensioner who contributed to that luxury they enjoy with their money which they invested.
As a pressure group advocating for decent pension payouts, we will not rest until pensioners are treated with dignity by NSSA and all Pension funds. The silence of IPEC on this serious matter is very disturbing.
Hence it becomes more pathetic that the government is failing to intervene as a way of respecting the patriotic and sane former workers, who have given all and now being stricken left, right, back and center with the hope that one day it will turn in their favor yet some of them have already crossed the borders.
Hence, it’s my plea that the government should at least recognize this group. If the former head of state was given his pension in USD why not afford the same opportunity to our pensioners in Zimbabwe?
Linda T. Masarira
Pensioners Voice Convener