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THE Zimbabwean Community in South Africa (ZCSA) has blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for paying “slave wages”, thus causing local health workers’ migration to neighbouring countries.

This was said by ZCSA chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena while addressing the South African media  yesterday.

His utterances came barely a month after the South African public health director of workplace management, Sindile Sodladla, wrote to Zimbabwean health professionals who sought to work in that country’s health sector, saying their services were not required at the moment due to a standing Sadc protocol.

“What is needed is to try to balance the two. On the one hand, we have a Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) protocol that says member States should not recruit medical professionals from other countries where there is a shortage, and on the other hand, we have Zimbabwean health workers who are underpaid and live under poverty, and are looking for greener pastures,” Mabhena said.

“A domestic worker in South Africa earns more than what a medical professional earns in Zimbabwe.”

He said the Zimbabwean government should adequately remunerate its health workers and resolve its currency problems.

“We need to adopt the rand as a currency of reference so that a person who works in Zimbabwe earns almost similar to a person who works in South Africa. We think that this must be a first step in addressing the problem,” Mabhena said.

He lamented that whenever health workers protested in Zimbabwe, they were threatened or dismissed.

“We have a situation where the government of Zimbabwe cannot pay its workers. It is important that the Sadc protocol must be reviewed because we need to balance the interests of workers and that of Sadc,” he said.

Health deputy minister John Mangwiro yesterday said he could not respond to issues of organisations or individuals that were complaining about health workers being denied jobs in a neighbouring country.

“I only comment on policy issues,” Mangwiro said.

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