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SMM workers set for pay relief


Shabanie Mashaba Mine (SMM) has started a payroll audit to facilitate payment of three months’ salaries to workers who have not been paid for over two years, sources said on Tuesday.

The payment is set to lessen the plight of the 1 600 workers, wallowing in abject poverty as they have not been paid following the closure of the mining giant due to viability problems, coupled with political interference almost seven years ago.

The workers said they received a memorandum instructing them to report for duty on September 5.

However, SMM administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba said he was unaware of the development, but confirmed a payroll audit was underway.

Workers’ union secretary Joel Masuku said they gathered at the mine on Tuesday and were informed they would get salaries by September 12.

“We are meeting here (at SMM) and we have to log into a book every day because they want to pay us at least three months’ salary. There is a memo which said workers should be paid three months salaries by 12 September and that is why people are reporting for duty. There are auditors who want to know how many workers are here, so that they do not end up paying ghost workers,” said Masuku.

He said the workers would be reporting to work until they got their salaries.

A worker who refused to be named told NewsDay: “We are just coming to work, but we are not sure whether we will be given money or not. We have gone through this before and it never materialises. We hope this time we will be able to get something.”

In February, the SMM workers told a parliamentary portfolio committee they had sold most of their possessions, including clothes, to raise money for their upkeep.

They said some children were forced into early marriages while others became street kids and prostitutes due to poverty.

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