The Federation of Zimbabwe Educators Unions (FOZEU) takes note of the statement issued by the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr E Ndlovu yesterday, in which she announced that she had with immediate effect suspended all education officials who had not reported for duty since 7 February.
We would like to condemn in the strongest terms the illegal announcement which defies all legal foundations. The Statutory Instrument 1 /2000 which we believe she pries her purported sanctions against teacher does not provide for a blanket suspension of members, which can be equated to a scattergun approach to solving problems wholly created by the government. In fact, her position does not in any way place her near suspensions, as the Minister of MOPSE is not the employer of any civil servant. That duty fall on the laps of the Public Service Commission.
Even if the Public Service Commission were to suspend teachers, it is clear that the suspensions would fall foul of the laws, as they have been initiated by a political functionary, and therefore not an independent decision. It is not the business of a Minister in another Ministry to order a Commission to do particular acts. If Hon Ndlovu can do so in public, we can reasonably assume that she has already privately instructed the PSC on the sanctions to be imposed on suspended teachers, should they be charged.
It is a known fact that all employees of government, at whatever level, are broke beyond redemption, as things stand as of today. Any civil servant who is not a criminal or fraudster is provably unable to fend for him/herself today because the money offered by the government is very little. We thus call upon all office bearers, be it school heads, DSls or PEDS, to ignore the instructions to charge your juniors, who are just as broke as
It is unreasonable, evil and a marine spirit character only which can push someone whom we look up to as a mother and grandmother to suspend 130,000 family men and women without pay for three months. It is equally reprehensible that this comes from a Minister whose purview seeks to promote the rights of children, who now have to go to bed hungry every day. The shock and awe approach to solving labour issues is the forte of dictatorial systems, and not a govemment that prides itself as a new dispensation.
Having said that, we call on our members not to panic, as we are engaging the necessary offices. We will also challenge in court any suspension that is actually activated as it will be against the laws of the land. We are still incapacitated and are unable to report for work.
To parents and learners, please bear with us. We know that you have spent a lot of money to enable children to go to school. However, under the circumstances, we are unable to attend to learners as we are hungry, disgruntled and unable to send our own children to schools and tertiary institutions.
We call on the government to make sound decisions as these will affect generations to come. It is unreasonable that teachers get suspended for months, and the children lose a lot of learning time, which may be compounded by future lockdowns, should Covid hit our shores again.