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Traditional leaders lament unpaid allowances

Chiefs Council President Mtshane Khumalo said he was aware that some village heads had not been registered.

A NUMBER of village heads in Matobo, Matabeleland South are not receiving the statutory allowances and other perks for their positions in the traditional leadership structures, it has emerged.

Southern Eye Sunday has established that some village heads have served for more than 15 years without any benefits.

There are at least 36 000 village heads in Zimbabwe, some of whom have, however, not been receiving any salary and benefits due to them.

Chiefs, headmen and village heads earn different salaries and allowances on a monthly basis.

Chiefs, who are known for their public support for the Zanu PF party, also receive vehicles and other privileges on top of these monthly emoluments.

Some village heads from Matobo district who spoke on conditions of anonymity told Southern Eye that they had gone through due processes of registration to be eligible to receive government benefits but without success.

“It is a deliberate move by the powers-that-be to deprive us of the benefits associated with being a village head,” one village head said.

“Some of us have been acting for more than fifteen years without being recognised by the Local Government ministry

"Our chief is aware of this, we have been working with him and being loyal to him, but with no benefits.”

Another village head said they had been told on several occasions to resubmit their forms to the Local Government ministry for registration and consideration for government benefits.

“In Ward 13 Manyane there are more than 20 village heads that are not receiving their dues while in Ward 14 Madwaleni about 30 village heads remain unregistered and therefore working without pay,” another village head said.

“We have submitted our forms at Matobo district and we expect transparency in the whole process."

Chief Bidi of Matobo confirmed that 15 village heads under his jurisdiction were still not registered.

 “Registration is a process especially to those that were working culturally without registering with the government,” Chief Bidi said.

“It is a handicap to the chiefs as these village heads will not be recognised in any government institutions making it difficult to act as witnesses or to offer certain letters for the villagers.”

Matobo district development coordinator Obey Chaputsira said he was on leave and could not comment on the issue.

“I will be back at work next week," he said.

Chiefs Council President Mtshane Khumalo said he was aware that some village heads had not been registered.

 “Those in the communal lands should follow up with their chiefs and make sure that they are registered,” Khumalo said

“We are still in the process of amending the traditional leaders act to incorporate those in the resettlement areas. Hopefully by the first quarter of this year they will be able to enjoy the same benefits as their counterparts.”

Local Government minister Winston Chitando could not be reached for comment.

In January 2022, Vice President Kembo Mohadi said chiefs, headmen and village heads were entitled to United States dollar allowance.

In June 2022, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Marian Chombo told Parliament that village heads were supposed to receive funeral and medical assistance from the government as some could not access medical facilities due to lack of resources.

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