Teachers want $1 000 a month- Zimbabwe’s teachers were today reported to be seeking salaries of at least US$1 000 a month. They currently earn between $300 and $480 per month but the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says a food basket for an average family of five now costs $540 a month. In December civil servants were reported to be demanding a minimum wage of US$543 which is in line with the poverty datum line. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in his 2014 budget that the government will raise the salaries of civil servants to the current poverty datum line but this would be staggered to leave room for continued funding of government operations. The government will also improve the welfare of civil servants through the provision of non-monetary benefits in such areas as housing.
Zimbabwe at the bottom
Zimbabwe was ranked at the bottom of the total wealth rankings in Africa with US$7.2 nearly 80 times smaller than that of its wealth neighbour South Africa which topped the list. A report released by New World Wealth today showed that North African countries dominated the list despite their troubled times. South Africa had total wealth of US$571.2 billion. Politically volatile Egypt was ranked second with total wealth of US$367.6 billion followed by Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria with US$227.5 billion. Algeria was in fourth place followed by Morocco. They had total wealth of US$225 billion and US$190.7 billion respectively. Zimbabwe was the only country with total wealth below US$10 billion. Second last was Mozambique with US$10.1 billion followed by Uganda with US$12.2 billion, Zambia with US$12.9 billion and Botswana with US$13 billion. Botswana has, however, only two million people.
Zimbabwe’s platinum miners have been given 10 days from today to submit proposals for the establishment of a refinery in the country. The government intends to ban the export of raw platinum at the end of this year and started levying 15 percent on export of raw platinum at the beginning of this month. Mining companies were given two years to establish a refinery last year but argued that local production is too low to justify the setting up of a refinery. Current platinum output is about 430 000 ounces a year. Mining companies have said this needs to be at least 500 000 ounces to justify the establishment of a refinery which requires an investment of at least US$3 billion.
Write your own history
Vice-President Joice Mujuru today called on Zimbabweans to write the history of the country’s liberations struggle as the heroes that were involved in liberating the country are dying one by one. “I cry that this vital sentence which is and should be part of a national narrative is going to be buried away today: unread by those who live, unreadable to all those who follow. I am talking about Cde Chirenda’s great grandchildren who may never know or grasp the work he did in his lifetime. I am talking about my own great grandchildren who may never know or remember him. I am talking about your great grandchildren, dear comrade, who may never know your history, our history and thus their history as well….We have not written our story, we have great but mute heroes. We have not narrated our experiences even to this generation that lives. Much worse, our experiences are buried away with us, rendered eternally mute, when we die, one at a time we are all gone one day. Unless they spoke when they live, dead comrades don’t tell stories and our individual stories are a vital part of the story of our generation, of our people, our nation, our country. Who shall tell it? When? The veterans like Chirenda are going, are gone, who shall testify to his greatness? “While they tell us that history belongs to the victors, our own situation cedes victory to those who lost the war. Our history has no tellers. We need to change history by writing it. Let’s begin now so we shape a heritage for our children, for generations to come who deserve to inherit and get inspired by the great deeds of their forbearers,” she said.
MDC and ZANU-PF battle for civil servants
The Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front are now battling for the sympathy of civil servants, the biggest labour force in the country. MDC Shadow Minister for Labour Paurina Mpariwa today called for fresh elections saying ZANU-PF had failed to turn around the country’s economy and to address the issue of civil servants’ salaries. Public Service and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche said the fate of civil servants will be addressed next Wednesday when the government meets representatives of civil servants. “We have our position as government and we will first reveal that position, what we have to offer and negotiate from.” Mpariwa said Goche should implement and honour his party’s promises made during the 2013 elections that all public servants would be awarded above poverty datum line salaries and have better working conditions.