Govt’s economic failures led to loss of Workers Day significance: CFT

The Zimbabwean government’s economic failures have rendered Workers Day insignificant because most workers have nothing to show for their efforts, the Congress for Transformation (CFT) has said.

These sentiments come as Zimbabwe commemorates Workers Day on May 1, also known as International Day of Labour in some parts of the world.

CFT National Spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa, told CITE that Workers Day lost its significance “long ago” when the government launched a war on the labour movements that had led to the birth of the opposition in 1999.

“This was after the government had successfully annihilated ZAPU previously in the early years of independence. Not only did the government make sure labour movements died, it also, through economic bankruptcy and sheer neglect, destroyed the country’s economy and its economic infrastructure, such that unemployment hovers around 80 to 90 percent,” Maphosa said.

Maphosa said the demise of Zimbabwe’s economy fueled an informal economy that was caused by high levels of unemployment.

“This has created an informal economy where every citizen has become a vendor of sorts in order to survive. The government has over the years failed to create and maintain a conducive and enabling economic and financial environment for investment, especially from private sector and foreign to flow into the country,”  said the CFT spokesperson.

The CFT spokesperson added that the government has also failed to work on the most basic remedies and required policies for economic recovery and programmes across the economy. 

“These remedies include enforcing adherence to sound corporate governance, standards and practices, removing barriers to foreign direct investment, creation of favourable business conditions including the elimination of corruption, quick and non-discriminatory approval of investment projects, stability in business environment, reliable regulatory systems and legal protection of investments,” Maphosa said.

Maphosa advised the government to work on reviving the jobs sector by crafting policies and strategies for improving investment inflows in order to create jobs.

“The State should also invest in the development of  high quality and competitive production and entrepreneurship skills. Local entrepreneurship must thrive by allowing duty free importation of machinery and equipment for the development and adaptation of technologies as well as protect companies that produce these technologies and intermediate goods from foreign competition,” he said.

The CFT spokesperson said above all, a conducive political environment is the “biggest ingredient” to a revived economy and workforce in Zimbabwe. 

“Basic human rights has to be protected and promoted in order to create a stable political climate, in order to boost investor confidence,” summed Maphosa 

Meanwhile, workers unions across the country were reported saying that Workers Day in Zimbabwe has turned into “Slave Day commemorations” due to poor pay and working conditions.

In a separate message, Bulawayo mayor, David Coltart also said hardworking Zimbabweans deserved better conditions.

“Happy International Labour Day to all our hard working people of Zimbabwe. You have built Zimbabwe and deserve better conditions than you endure today,” Coltart said.

“My hope is that today we will all rededicate ourselves to a new Zimbabwe which benefits all, particularly workers, rather than just a ruling elite.”

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