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‘Reserve jobs for locals’

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MINES and Mining Development minister and Zanu PF Umguza MP Obert Mpofu on Thursday appealed for President Robert Mugabe’s intervention over alleged reports that companies in the Matabeleland region were snubbing locals, preferring labourers from other areas.Report by Nduduzo Tshuma, Staff Reporter

Speaking at the launch of the Hwange District Community Share Ownership Trust at the Colliery Stadium where Mugabe officiated, Mpofu said local chiefs had expressed concern to him over the alleged discrimination.

“The chiefs said thank you for job creation by granting special grants in the area, but some companies, when it comes to employing people, they bring buses from other areas. If they want workers they should employ locals. Do they mean that there is no manual labour in Hwange? When it comes to specialised work, we agree that it is competition, but manual labour should be given to locals,” Mpofu said drawing thunderous applauses from the gathering.

The minister, however, did not name the companies operating in the province that were “importing” manual labour from outside Matabeleland North.

Mpofu said he was raising the matter because he knew Mugabe was for the idea that locals should be given priority in terms of jobs when companies invest in their areas.

“I was in Ngezi recently and the chiefs there said they wanted priority for employment to be given to locals, but there are some arrogant people who want to suppress other people’s children,” he said.

Mpofu said locals were also disadvantaged in terms of accessing resources produced in their areas.

“Electricity is generated here in Hwange, but there is no single school with power yet it passes over them,” he said. “The Zesa people do not respect us.”

Mpofu further told Mugabe that chiefs in the Hwange area were concerned about hunger.

“I was here last week and spoke to chiefs in Hwange. They said they are suffering from hunger and hope that you (Mugabe) will end that hunger. They are grateful for the farm implements that you gave them and they are not suffering because of laziness but their crops were destroyed by elephants and the sad part is that when those elephants are killed only those wearing shorts (in apparent reference to whites) benefit,” Mpofu said.

Meanwhile, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere after the same gathering said: “Zimbabwe is a sovereign country and will not allow foreign banks to dictate things in our country and tough luck to those who have been opposing bank seizures because there is no stopping now.”

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