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THE cash strapped government said Tuesday it had released outstanding salaries of university lecturers and support staff as it scrambled to prevent the riots which rocked the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) from spreading to other institutions.

Anti-riot police had to be deployed at the UZ after students went on a rampage as lecturers and non-academic staff downed tools over unpaid February salaries.

The institution was then closed for a week.

Similar strikes have also affected Midlands State University (MSU), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Great Zimbabwe University (GZU).

Higher education minister Oppah Muchunguri told reporters that the outstanding salaries would be paid by the end of day Tuesday.

“I wish to confirm the position taken as follows: that salaries will be mobilised and released before the end of the day, Tuesday, March 17, 2015, whilst the bonus will be staggered,” she said.

“Pursuant to this resolve, members of staff in all State Universities are requested to resume normal teaching, learning and research activities with immediate effect.

She added: “Treasury officials expressed their sincerest regret over the dismal failure to meet the dates designated as pay dates.”

The minister said the decision to close the UZ had also been reversed, insisting lectures would continue on Wednesday.

“We’ve been communicating with Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura to discuss the way forward given what we agreed with workers’ representatives. He did agree that he took the decision to close because of the demonstrations which took place,” she said.

“We both have agreed that activities have to resume and UZ will be opened tomorrow morning (today) with lectures. I hope all the institutions will adhere to the directive.”

Source : New Zimbabwe