Teachers plead for biometric registration deadline extension
By Staff reporter | 30 Sep 2019 at 22:42hrs
TEACHERS have pleaded with government to extend the biometric authentication registration deadline which lapses today.
Teachers and the rest of civil servants have been jostling to meet the deadline after Public Service Commissioner Vincent Hungwe, last week, issued a statement where he implored civil servants who have not registered to do so or risk being taken off the salary service bureau (SSB).
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) secretary-general Tapson Sibanda said the union has received reports from across the country from its members who are yet to register for the exercise citing poor service delivery from their district offices.
"The deadline is too near and impossible to work with. "As a union, we do not understand what the government is trying to do," Sibanda said.
"We have engaged the government requesting that the deadline be extended beyond Monday (today) but we are not sure if they are going to respond positively to our request." Sibanda described government's threat to revoke salaries of those who would have failed to meet deadline as inhumane and uncalled for as most civil servants were not aware of the "mop up" exercise till the statement was issued without adequate notice. In the statement, Hungwe said the bulk of civil servants have now been registered for biometric authentication verification and is doing a mop-up registration which ends today.
However, Sibanda told this publication that most of their members were not aware of the mop up exercise due to the centralised dissemination of information which "slowly trickled" to the civil servants.
Secretary-general to the second largest teachers' union, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Ray Majongwe echoed the same sentiments saying the PSC's statement was misleading as none of its members had been registered.
"We also take great offence at the attempt to blackmail our members by threatening to cease their salaries. "If any member's salary is ceased unprocedurally, we will make it expensive for the Commission," Majongwe said.
Majongwe viewed the short deadline as set "for no other reason than to terrify our members into reporting for work" even when they are incapacitated to do so due to underpayment. He called on the PSC to communicate with staff associations and civil servants on time.
The biometric authentication registration is being conducted by the PSC in conjunction with its technical partner, the World Bank. The objective of the exercise is to flush out ghost workers from the civil service.
The government undertook the exercise after the 2015 Civil Service Audit Report carried out by Auditor General Mildred Chiri unmasked that government was losing $21 million yearly to nearly 4 000 employees who could not be accounted for.
The exercise will run until 2020 and will be conducted in three phases, with the second phase set to commence on October 1.
"During phase two…part of the work will be to ensure that information within SSB as an entity responsible for effective and efficient salary management interfaces with the national biometric registration data.
"In phase three, the process will include validation of data on the national database through engagement of an independent service provider.
"After data validation and system integrity checks, the system will be commissioned by early 2020," Hungwe said.