The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) has demanded the withdrawal of foot-in-mouth utterances by Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Tumisang Thabela that they should borrow money to meet their transport needs to work.
This follows the reopening of the learning institutions after a prolonged four month break due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Teachers had insisted they were financially incapacitated to report for work as government has failed to attend to their wage grievances.
Others felt the re-opening of schools 31 August when they faced routine expenses associated with the end of the month was ill-advised on government’s part.
However, the top civil servant did not help matters when she said the educators could borrow some money to finance their transport needs.
In a statement, Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Richard Gundane said the union was “deeply appalled by the lack of compassion and continued disregard of their economic and social welfare” as displayed Thabela.
Added Gundane, “It’s clearer now than before that, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education does not hold teachers in high regard, neither do they care about their welfare. This is more than sad.
“It is a misrepresentation of issues and facts, and a display of arrogant attitude in the education sector in Zimbabwe, an element which is undesirable.”
Zimta was up in arms that teachers who constitute a giant 140 000 members from the current government workforce were being “downplayed by their own supervisor”.
“Clearly this is not the kind of representation that teachers are looking for in their government,” Gundane said.
The trade unionist said teachers’ problems are real and it was government’s duty to address them accordingly.
“Teachers are not only feeling disrespected, but honestly, they are ashamed to get this kind of representation at a Cabinet or Parliamentary briefing levels.
“Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary, Mrs Tumisang Thabela, You Have let us DOWN.
“You have misrepresented the facts to the legislature, cabinet, and nation at large, withdraw your infamous statement…”
Zimbabweans earn a paltry $20 000, which is just over US$130 using on the parallel market exchange rate where most locals trade their currency.