TOURISM and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi has vowed to continue fighting RioZim Limited (RioZim)’s Masvingo-based gold mine, Renco Mine (Renco), until it meets community and employees’ demands.
Report by Taurai Mangudhla
This is despite a High Court ruling that ordered him and his colleagues — Chivi South MP Irvine Dzingirai and special assistant Obediah Mazombwe — off Renco premises.
RioZim accused Mzembi of attempting to illegally take possession of its assets.
Renco is at the centre of a labour dispute with workers who are demanding outstanding bonuses and salary increments. Mzembi, who is also Masvingo South legislator, says he will not abandon his role of representing his constituency in negotiations with the miner.
“I wasn’t put in office by the High Court, but by the people of Masvingo South whom I represent.
“For as long as you still want me to champion your concerns, I will, and please just know that this country was not freed from colonialism at the High Court,” Mzembi recently said during a public meeting at Renco.
A recent visit by NewsDay to Renco found that the community was bitter with the mine’s shareholders. The company has cut down on employee benefits, including schools fees payments, which has seen 40% of the pupils in surrounding schools being sent back home on account of non-payment of fees.
This has sparked a row with the community, with women joining their spouses in protests.
After the last demonstration, Renco yielded to some of the women’s demands, which included the formation of a credible workers’ union and payment of 50% bonuses.
Riozim managing director Ashton Ndlovu refused to comment.
Renco mine manager Cyprian Kachisa last month said the mining firm owed Zesa over $1 million and required about $2 million working capital per month.