Harare,– THE People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has branded Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa a thief while urging civil servants to sue government for failing to remit millions of dollars in monthly pension and medical aid contributions for three years.
Tendai Biti’s party further warned that government workers who have consistently made contributions towards their health insurance risked death when they fail to receive assistance after their employer has failed to relay the payments.
“This is unacceptable and has to be stopped hence the government workers and their representatives must take the government to the courts on the matter as the government actions are patently unlawful and constitute an unprecedented class fraud,” party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Moreover, the civil service unions must join together and engage in a class action in demanding remittances of their pensions as the current fraud will haunt their members when they retire.”
Chinamasa has admitted government’s failure to remit the contributions.
This has resulted in a $170 million debt owed to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) in terms of pension contributions.
For Premier Services Medical Aid Services (PSMAS), the government acknowledged arrears of over $98 million and for other stop orders it is in debts of over US$10 million.
“This huge backlog was accumulated from September 2013 to date and was part of a prolonged fraudulent scheme by government to steal from workers on the back of claims of settling statutory obligations as well as stop order payments,” Mafume said.
“The scandal is that the government has been focused on spending money it does not have in satisfying the unquenchable appetites of President Mugabe and his cabal who globe trot each week with no agenda for national development.”
Since the end of the country’s inclusive government following a Zanu PF electoral victory in 2013, the Zanu PF led government has struggled to manage an economy weighed down by a shrinking tax base owing to the closure of industry and the formalisation of the economy.
Government’s propensity to spend on luxuries during the current crisis has also been cited as a major contributor to the economic distress.