Dollarization of the Zimbabwean economy since early 2009 has worsened the plight of pensioners living from hand to mouth with most receiving US$20 a month.
Abednico Ndlovu, who sits on the board of the National Railways of Zimbabwe Pensioners Association, said the survivors of deceased workers are even worse off, receiving just US$10 dollars monthly.
Ndlovu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that most Zimbabwean pensioners are suffering economically and are in urgent need of food assistance.
“It’s a mystery how these people are surviving but indications are that many pensioners cannot afford to have a decent meal per day,” Ndlovu said.
Government pensioner Lulu McKenzie, 80, has gotten help from a South African organization, but said she has had to return to work to make ends meet.
McKenzie said that although she worked for the government for more than 35 years, she stopped getting her pension a couple of years ago due to hyperinflation, which was ultimately vanquished by the adoption of a mix of hard currencies - but which left those on the margins almost locked out of the cash economy.
Samaritan Johannes Botha of the Zimbabwe Pensioners Supporters Fund said his group is helping about 1,000 elderly Zimbabweans survive. His group supplies them with food, clothing and basic medicines every three months from Mpumalanga, South Africa.
“A lot of pensioners don’t receive their pensions, some get little pensions and the most serious problem is that the majority of these pensioners have no means of getting dollars,” he said.