400 drivers threaten to march to OPC for unpaid SADC allowances

About 400 government drivers have threatened to march to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to push for payment of their allowances after working during the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit.

Some of the drivers were involved in driving the visiting Heads of State.

The drivers since Monday have been assembling outside Civo Stadium where there was a temporary office mandated to coordinate transport but as of Tuesday afternoon no one has been paid.

The drivers were irked further after the transport coordinator Jomo Mkandawire, who is Director of Techinical Services at the Ministry of Transport, on Tuesday  left them in suspense and allegedly switched off his mobile phones despite his earlier promise that he would update them on the way forward on their demands.

Drivers to march to OPC
Drivers to march to OPC

Some of the drivers who spoke to Nyasa Times on condition of anonymity said that they were surprised that other people who also worked during the summit such as police personnel were instantly paid their allowances and it is only them who are still fighting.

Nyasa Times Tuesday afternoon visited the Stadium where it found more than 100 vehicles parked with the drivers indicating that if they are not paid by Wednesday they will drive and park at OPC to push for their payment.

“Just imagine throughout the two weeks we were using our own resources to survive,” said one of the drivers.

The drivers have been working since August 5 and 6 and completed their duties on Monday while others had their last days yesterday.

Most of the vehicles used during the summit were from the government fleet while others had to be hired but all these vehicles were being driven by the government drivers.

Some of the drivers came from as far as Mzuzu and Blantyre.

Mkandawire in an interview with one of the daily papers The Nation explained that he was in a meeting at OPC sorting out the same issue.

He acknowledged that there has been a problem with the payments for the drivers but said that the issue has since been sorted out.

“Some of them, especially those coming from other districts, will start getting their money today (Tuesday) and others will have their money by tomorrow. At the moment I am going to Civo Stadium to explain the situation to those gathered there,” said Mkandawire.

He said the delays were mainly because government was trying to scrutinise the list of the drivers to avoid unscrupulous drivers getting themselves on the list.

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