HIGHER Education Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame says University of Zambia (UNZA) lecturers should exercise patience as they await payment of their salaries because the Ministry is working to ensure grants are released to them as soon as possible.

In an interview, Siame, however, said she could not give an exact date on when the funds would be released, but hoped that it would be before the students re-opened classes next Monday, June 29.

“Remember, we indicated that we give them grants, and from the grants, we pay the salaries. Yes, there may be a delay, but we are trying to ensure that all the grants that we give them will be provided. I can’t give a date, but I am sure as soon as possible, the Ministry of Finance is releasing the grants. We are just calling upon the lecturers to exercise some patience so that they can teach students; they have been away for some time. Let us wait, maybe they will receive their funds before that,” urged Siame.

On Monday, UNZALARU general secretary Dr Kelvin Mambwe cautioned that lecturers would not teach when the University re-opened next Monday until salary arrears were cleared.

“The University has announced that it is reopening on June 29 for the classes that are supposed to be graduating. We are saying that bringing students to the University when the University has not prepared for industrial harmony will be chaotic! We are owed two salaries for May and June, lecturers and other workers have not been paid. So, as UNZALARU, our members are not going to work amidst a situation where they have not been paid. Not until they are able to pay us the two salaries are we going to provide the lectures to our students. Failure to pay the two salaries at the same time, we have told them we are not ready to teach the students. They should not expect to see us on the 29th not until they give us what they owe us,” said Dr Mambwe.

And Copperbelt University Academics Union president Dr Derrick Ntalasha on Monday said the lecturers would only move to teach once May salaries were paid.