Flood victims stranded as gvt fails to pay scotch-cart transporters

Zimbabwean scotch carts

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
18 February 2014

Tokwe Mukosi flood victims are stranded after scotch-cart owners contracted to move them to higher ground went on strike over non-payment for their services.

A NewsDay report Tuesday said the government recently commandeered scotch carts to help transport flood victims at $10 a trip. But according to the report the scotch-cart owners have since withdrawn their services in fear that they may not be rewarded.

Chivi District administrator Bernard Hadzirabwi confirmed the development but would not say how much the government owed the scotch-cart owners. But the report quoted some scotch-cart owners saying they have not yet been paid for as many as 20 trips they have made so far.

According to the report, the scotch-cart owners initially charged $15 for the six kilometer trip to the Kushinga Transit Camp where the flood victims are temporarily camped. The evacuated villagers are being moved to the Chigwizi area in Mwenezi. The fee was reduced to $10 after the government said $15 was too much.

The scotch-cart owners’ fear that they may not be paid what they are owed is not without logic. The government is struggling to pay civil servants across all departments. Only last week it admitted that it had no money to increase the salaries of teachers.

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