MDC-T senator says there are no jobs because of a crisis in governance


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Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai treasurer Theresa Makone yesterday told the Senate that Zimbabwe was being forced to bulldoze a Labour Amendment Bill after thousands of workers were laid off because people were not investing in the country due to a crisis in governance.

She said the government could not even blame the crisis on sanctions because these had been in force for 15 years and Zimbabweans should have found a way around them by now.

Makone was contributing to the debate on the Labour Amendment Bill which was passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday despite an adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee which said demanding remuneration retrospectively was unconstitutional.

The bill also sailed through the Senate despite strong opposition from the MDC-T.

While she sympathised with the Minister of Labour Prisca Mupfumira, Makone said: “We should now be talking about how to increase people in the employment sector; how to take on more people, especially after the elections where we were promised 2 million jobs

“We cannot even begin to talk about sanctions in this case because when we went to the elections we had sanctions on. Rhodesia was under sanctions that were imposed by Great Britain in 1965. I remember at that time; the bread that was eaten in Rhodesia came from London with BOSCH every morning.

“But after sanctions were imposed, we started growing our own wheat; we opened Lobels Bakery and started making bread here ourselves.

“We have been under sanctions for 15 years now. By now, we should have started working out how we were going to implement. I personally believe that it was going to be done, that the 2 million jobs were going to come because no one has talked about removing sanctions at that stage.

“So, there is no confidence in the economy. It is not about white money being invested in Zimbabwe. It is about money, even from us the nationals of Zimbabwe. We are not investing into the economy because there is a crisis of governance. There is no confidence in the way we do things.”

 

Full contribution:

 

SENATOR MAKONE: Thank you Madam President. I would like to start by acknowledging the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services for this effort in trying to reconcile the situation of workers in the work place. But before we even get here, I think we are trying to deal with the symptoms and not the disease – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – We should now be talking about how to increase people in the employment sector; how to take on more people, especially after the elections where we were promised 2 million jobs – [HON SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

We cannot even begin to talk about sanctions in this case because when we went to the elections we had sanctions on. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Rhodesia was under sanctions that were imposed by Great Britain in 1965. I remember at that time; the bread that was eaten in Rhodesia came from London with BOSCH every morning. But after sanctions were imposed, we started growing our own wheat; we opened Lobels Bakery and started making bread here ourselves. We have been under sanctions for 15 years now. By now, we should have started working out how we were going to implement. I personally believe that it was going to be done, that the 2 million jobs were going to come because no one has talked about removing sanctions at that stage.

So, there is no confidence in the economy. It is not about white money being invested in Zimbabwe. It is about money, even from us the nationals of Zimbabwe. We are not investing into the economy because there is a crisis of governance – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – There is no confidence in the way we do things. We are not implementing our own Constitution which we voted in massively by more than 3 million votes. Had we done that Madam President, there would be competition of local and international investors in Zimbabwe. We would not be talking about retrenchments and making sure that people are given a soft landing. We would be talking about our children coming back from the diaspora to come and work here in Zimbabwe – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

Why are we getting this sudden rush of this Labour Act? Why are we now talking about it? It is because of the interpretation that was given by the judges on 17th July, 2015. People were holding on to their employees because they were not sure what to do. Now they see a way out. It has made it easier for employers to shed off because they also do not have money to pay those people. The biggest retrencher of workers has been Government through the parastatals – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Most parastatals have not been able to pay their employees for the last two years. This had made it easier for them.

When we were in the Government of National Unity (GNU), there was a suggestion that some of these parastatals be privatized. Had that been done, they would have strengthened and their employees would not have been laid off. But Government saw it fit to hold on to non-performing parastatals that they have got no idea how to run.

Madam President, I feel sorry for the Minister, she is caught in a web which is not of her own making. She is doing the best she can to come out of that bad situation but the problem is with the Government of Zimbabwe which is not implementing its own Constitution, therefore making the investment climate impossible for possible investors. I thank you Madam President.

(252 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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