EDITORIAL COMMENT : Civil service buses will boost morale

The unveiling of 25 more new buses for civil servants by President Mnangagwa recently demonstrates his Government’s commitment to improving their conditions of service.

The national fiscus is under severe pressure and unlocking resources to buy new buses for Government staff, tells a lot about the President’s desire to enhance working conditions for the civil servants. The launch of the new Public Service Commission buses brings the total to 83.

More are still needed to extend the non-monetary benefits to the public servants. Transport chews a huge portion of earnings by civil servants and this intervention by Government will certainly bring cheer to them particularly now when the country is undergoing tough austerity measures.

Private kombi operators are charging exorbitant fares and if civil servants were to use them, a huge portion of their earnings will be gobbled up. It is therefore heartening that despite the challenging and rough economic patch the country is going through, President Mnangagwa and his Government remain empathetic to the needs of civil servants.

In addition, it goes on to show how his Government is committed to becoming the most inclusive employer the country has ever had in years. Dialogue and engagement is already a key part of our Government’s culture and in its different forms, it is widespread and filtering in the civil service.

The Government is also keenly aware of the benefits that comes with improving working conditions for civil servants. It is crucial in enabling the civil service to combine an enjoyable and productive work experience with improved civil service delivery and loyalty to the State.

Employer-worker disputes are minimised while Government is taking a number of steps to build on what already it is able to provide. Civil servants are a resilient lot and the new buses should make the burden of transport cost light and manageable.

Patience and resilience has been the hallmark of the Zimbabwe civil service and any improvement to their conditions of work is welcome. We need to applaud President Mnangagwa, the Public Service Commission and Treasury for the new buses.

It’s a welcome relief for the civil servants. Good staff relations policies and matters, staff welfare and motivation schemes all play an important and proactive role in fostering good relations between Government, the main employer and its staff.

All this has an important bearing on Government service delivery and the attainment of the country’s set goals. The civil service, no doubt, is a critical component for the country to achieve its vision of becoming a middle income economy by 2030.

Good staff relations by Government and civil servants often set a bar for the private sector to aim to do the same. Where Government is providing buses, the private sector should also aim to do the same to address the transport plight of their workers.

All said and done, the next most important step will be the maintenance and service of the buses. The PSC must make sure the vehicles are properly maintained so that breakdowns and other problems are minimised. Without proper service and maintenance, the transport woes facing civil servants will return to haunt us.