Civil servants talk about their struggle for survival
Striking civil servants are demanding no less than 16 percent salary increase as they feel anything below that will not cushion them against the high cost of living. But how have they been spending and surviving on their current salaries, we spoke to some of them to find out.
Neo Gopolang, 31, a Records Management Assistant at the Department of Lands and Housing says she struggles to make a living from her P1500 salary.
“I’m lucky that I’m married and my husband takes care of most of the burden. Much of my salary is taken up by the monthly deductions. Insurance takes P270, medical aid P240, bank loan P350. Should I be lucky enough to get the 16% raise I’ll get an extra P240 that I can add to the P860 that remains after my deductions. It’s not much but at least I can help my husband with groceries for the family.”
Morena Hunyepa, 40, says he has struggled to survive on his C3 scale salary despite trying hard to beat the inflation: “Prices keep going up and we get squeezed out of our monthly budgets. I’m a bit lucky because I stay in an institutional house and I pay a P248 subsidized rent but it’s still hard to live from the salary. I pay P300 for utilities, P600 groceries, P1 800 bank loan, P127 insurance, P400 fuel and P400 savings. Employees on the C3 scale get paid up to P6 100 and should the employer approve of the 16% raise, he will happily take home an extra P960.
Sidney Maphorisa, 31, a teacher on C2 scale earns P7 500 but says he only takes home less than a thousand pula as the rest goes to household demands. “The rent is no big deal because I pay about P125 for the teachers’ quarters, P400 for utilities, P3000 goes to loan and school fees for my two kids, P800 groceries, P500 transport while other necessities take P400. Should the 16% come my way I’ll get an extra P1200 that will go a long way in improving my living standards.”
Lily Matambo, 33 a Senior Teacher at one of the secondary schools in Francistown earns a gross salary of P 7 400 but her budget exceeds her salary because of the many commitments that she has.
“ I have various deductions and loans to pays and these include an auto loan, personal loan among others and these bring the total of deductions to P5 406. Besides these I also have other expenses like rent, utilities, groceries and accounts. So at the end of I am left with nothing and thus forced to survive on motshelo (loans). So for me really a 16 percent increase will make a big difference in my life.’’
For Mpho Tlala, 57 a clinic orderly in one of Francistown’s clinics life has been an everyday struggle as his P2 200 salary a month is far from meeting his personal and family needs.
“After deductions of my loan and union subscription I am left with P1301 and from this amount I have to pay rent, utilities, buy food and still remain with money for transport so you can see what I mean when I say it’s a struggle. And it is this struggle that pushed me to join the strike because 16 percent will surely make a difference in my pocket.”
The picture gets very gloomy as Thatayamodimo Xhabue, 33 a government night watch man breakdowns his monthly budget.
His salary is P1600 but the total for his expenses is almost P2300 as he has to pay rent, pay for utilities, buy food, pay for medical ad, take care of his extend family among many responsibilities.
“Every month I am forced to visit loan sharks because my salary is just not enough. During my free time I also around and do this and that to make ends meet, otherwise my wife and three children will die of hunger. When they give us the increment I would have an extra P160 which though not much is better than nothing. This is the reason why I am determined to join my comrades in the struggle.”