Transport reprieve for rural civil servants as ED commissions buses

The Chronicle

Prosper Ndlovu/Suku Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporters
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned 18 Public Service Commission (PSC) buses in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, under the Civil Service Rural Transport Scheme, which seeks to ease transport challenges faced by rural based civil servants.

The scheme is a fulfilment of Government’s philosophy “Leaving no one and no place behind” and goes a long in incentivising public civil servants.

To date 91 buses have been availed to Government workers out of a target of 150 buses after 25 buses were launched by President Mnangagwa in 2019 and an additional 33 in 2020, plus 13 in 2021.

President Mnangagwa cuts the ribbon to commission the new buses

However, these were mainly targeting urban areas.

The colourful commissioning event was witnessed by thousands of people including traditional leaders who thronged Pelandaba Stadium to meet the country’s leadership and kept cheering as President Mnangagwa was delivering his keynote address.

The President said the commissioned buses will be shared among the eight rural provinces while more efforts are being made to procure an additional fleet to ensure all rural public sector workers were catered for.

Under this phase, Matabeleland South province received three buses, Matabeleland North two, Midlands three, Manicaland two, Masvingo two, Mashonaland Central two, Mashonaland East two and Mashonaland West Province two.

President Mnangagwa said the intervention was in response to an outcry by civil servants based in rural who have complained about lack of public trasnsport.

Part of the thousands of Zanu-PF supporters who thronged Phelandaba Stadium for the President’s address yesterday

“We have many civil servants working in rural areas in our districts and provinces and we are giving them these buses to address the problem of transport,” said the President.

“They should be proud to own these buses, not what I have seen in another country where public sector workers board buses with goats and chickens. Here they should just carry their handbags.

“We are handing over these buses to the local leadership and they should look after them well.”

The 18 buses which were bought by Treasury, are part of a phase-by-phase programme, which will see the Government acquiring more buses to be deployed to various provinces under the Civil Service Rural Transport Scheme while others will service the public.

Dr Vincent Hungwe

In his remarks, PSC chairman, Dr Vincent Hungwe, said the acquisition of the new buses was another milestone in fulfilment of the promises made by the Second Republic towards improving conditions of service for its workers.
“Your Excellency, your administration has honoured its commitment to improve the working conditions of its workers. In your visional wisdom and leadership, you directed us to improve civil servants’ access to affordable transport.

“We are happy to inform you that with support from Treasury, this year we have acquired an additional 18 buses,” said Dr Hungwe.

He said yesterday’s commissioning of buses was more special as it marked the launching of the Civil Service Rural Transport Scheme consistent with the mantra of “leaving no one and no place behind.

“All the buses you are commissioning today will ply rural routes. Government workers in rural areas across the country will use these buses to travel to their respective towns for shopping every month,” said Dr Hungwe.

He applauded civil servants who have remained steadfast and committed to duty under challenging circumstances.

President Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) president, Mrs Cecelia Alexander, said for a long-time civil servant have craved for this bright day when they could be able travel to and from work with dignity and decency away from the hustle and bustle of the “mushika-mushika” and the “hlalani four-four”.

“Never shall we again go to work sitting on top of a gearbox with all the heat and sweat. May I pause to request my fellow civil servants here present to give a round of applause to His Excellency, our caring President and the Second Republic for this thoughtful gesture,” she said.

“May this spirit last. As ZCPSTU, we have so much to celebrate regards the commitment of the Second Republic towards improving the terms and conditions for its workers though more could still be done.”

Mrs Alexander commended President Mnangagwa’s open door policy and readiness to listen to the plight of public sector workers.

She also showered praises on the Government for granting them other benefits that include the rebate on motor vehicle scheme, commitment towards gradually restoring the value of the salaries to pre-October 2018 levels, enactment of the TNF Act and its ongoing operationalisation, among others.

Mrs Alexander said workers were determined to improve services delivery in order to fulfil the national vision of providing quality service to members of the public..

Cabinet Ministers, Dr Sekai Nzenza (industry), Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (defence), Winston Chitando (mines), senior civil servants and traditional leaders also attended the event.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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