THE cash crisis continues unabated at the troubled AfrAsia Bank, forcing teachers who have accounts with the bank in the Matabeleland region to abandon classes for days while trying to get their pay from the bank in Bulawayo City.
By Musa Dube
The bank, formerly known as Kingdom, has been facing cash challenges resulting in its clients failing to get their monies.
The bank’s Bulawayo branch is a major service point after the institution shut down branches in Victoria Falls, Hwange and many other branches in the region.
The crisis has hit hard mostly teachers from remote areas such as Hwange, Plumtree, Binga and Gwanda who are travelling to Bulawayo to get their cash.
“I have travelled all the way from Hwange to get my money but I failed to get even a quarter of it since Monday. I only managed to withdraw US$50 on Wednesday, which is not enough to buy groceries for my family and to cover for transport back home,” said a teacher from Hwange who identified himself as Munsaka.
Another teacher from rural Gwanda said she has been struggling to get her cash from the bank for the last two months.
“This is pathetic. The bank should do something because we are suffering. We are leaving our jobs to spend days here queuing for our money but we not getting it. My students are waiting for me but I don’t even have money to go back to work,” she said on condition of anonymity.
She added that with the final exam for her students less than two weeks away, she feared that her long absence would affect their performance.
The crisis at the bank has reached alarming levels, resulting in some of its clients spending nights in queues outside the Bulawayo banking hall in order to get served first.
Some account holders on Thursday night could be seen sleeping right in front of the bank’s entrance waiting to be served the following day.
“I have resorted to sleeping here at the bank because if I don’t, the chances of getting money are slim because there are hundreds of people who also need their cash,” said Thabiso Moyo from Magwegwe in Bulawayo.
The bank has since limited withdrawals to US$50 each per day, much to the chagrin of customers.
Recently, angry depositors broke the front glass door to the bank as they jostled to be served first.
Efforts to get a comment from AfrAsia were fruitless. But the bank’s public relations officer, Sekai Chitemerere, is on record saying the bank was facing a liquidity crisis.