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FEMALE members of Chitungwiza Town Council management are being forced to work from home in fear of council workers whose behaviour has become militant of late, parliamentarians heard yesterday.

This was after some of them were allegedly assaulted by the workers, while chamber secretary Ms Priscilla Vengesai was at one time locked in her office and had to be rescued by the police.

Chitungwiza Town Clerk Mr George Makunde made the remarks when his management appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare chaired by Gutu East Cde Berita Chikwama (ZANU-PF).

“We are operating in a hostile environment in Chitungwiza,” said Mr Makunde.

“They are a very militant workforce. Our employees have an antagonistic approach.The situation is very bad. We have had to force ladies to work from home, but we are there. It’s not a conducive environment at all.”

Ms Vengesai said they called for police intervention on numerous occasions.

She said the local authority found it difficult to deliver on services because the previous management had bloated the wage bill by recruiting incompetent and unqualified personnel.

Ms Vengesai said they were collecting about US$1 million monthly when their wage bill was US$1,4 million, making it impossible for them to adhere to the statutory requirement of spending 30percent on salaries and 70 percent on service delivery.

To address the anomaly, she said, the local authority was paying staff half salaries, while the other money went to service delivery.

She said the previous management headed by former town clerk Mr Godfrey Tanyanyiwa borrowed more than US$8million to pay salaries after recruiting more than the required staff.

The management, Ms Vengesai said, was now seized with clearing overdrafts with more than 75percent having been liquidated.

Ms Vengesai dismissed as malicious evidence presented by the workers’ representatives before the same committee recently that management could have swindled the local authority of about US$10million.

Cde Chikwama warned the officials against disregarding Parliamentary proceedings after they suspended workers representatives Mr Ephraim Katsina, Mr Tapson Bamusi and Mr Ngonidzashe Murau for alleging that senior management were operating secret bank accounts and a parallel payroll to award themselves hefty salaries.

The trio was re-instated after Parliament issued Certificates of Privilege nullifying their suspensions.

Source : The Herald