Some dead teachers and civil servants who left the service years ago have submitted forms to the Civil Service Commission that they are still working for the government and want their salaries, The Chronicle reported today.
The paper said this surfaced after the government asked some 2 207 teachers who were struck off the government payroll after a March audit were asked to prove that they were not ghost workers.
A verification exercise by the Civil Service Commission revealed that among the 178 applicants who had submitted their papers by Friday last week were dead teachers and those who had long left the civil service.
The paper did not say how many these were except that in some cases the papers had been filled by regional education officers rather than headmasters and that some schools had two headmasters.
“Administratively, we’ve to bring financial sanity in the service,” Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira told the paper. “It looks like we’re dealing with syndicates of people who have been prejudicing the government for long. We’ve moved in to charge those who acquit the pay sheet because, surely, how can you approve that one gets paid when you know that he or she is dead or hasn’t been at work for that long.”
“When we ceased the salaries we wrote to the heads of ministries on July 21 ordering them to submit proper documentation for those affected and it took a month for them to submit 178 queries. We’ve only reinstated those with proof and we’re not going to pay until we get information of where they were during the head count. We’ve found out that we’ve been dealing with callous people. We’ve brought the issue to the civil servants associations and they’ve now seen the light…..
“At Lord Malvern School (in Harare), a lady teacher has been in South Africa for the past seven months, but has been getting her salary every month as she has been certified as a bona fide worker. Some are giving us evidence of March 2, yet we did our audit beginning on March 26.”
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said salaries for civil servants were gobbling up 83 percent of budget and there was need to reduce this to below 40 percent.
The last audit of civil servants carried out in 2010 showed that there were about 75 000 ghost workers out of 188 000 workers.
The size of the current civil service has in some cases been put as high as over 500 000.