SHABANIE Mashava Mines (SMM) management has ordered its former employees to vacate company houses within 10 days to pave way for new employees.
Thousands of the affected workers are pensioners, who are owed more than $30 000 each in terminal benefits by the company.
Part of the order served on one of the tenants read: “An order for eviction of the defendant and all those claiming a right through him from the house number 13 Lourie Road Hillview, Zvishavane. Enter an appearance to defend by making an appropriate entry in the appearance book kept in the office of the registrar of the High Court of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo within 10 days after serving of summons.”
The workers have in turn handed over the issue to the National Mine Workers’ Union (NMWU) to fight the case in the courts.
Several human rights organisations have condemned SMM for the manner in which it has treated its workers.
Thousands of workers were evicted from the houses and thrown onto the streets, some with young children, as mine management either sold or rented out properties to the Great Zimbabwe University or Midlands State University.
It is not clear why the company is evicting people now that plans are afoot to reopen the asbestos mines.
SMM was closed in 2009 following differences between the government and Mutumwa Mawere, the businessman, who ran the mines.
There is also speculation that those who are being evicted are miners who took SMM to court and are being punished for their action by ensuring that they do not get their jobs back.
One of the victims, Israel Mundawarara, said the eviction orders were coming in batches and targeting low-ranked former employees.
“The notices are coming to us as a surprise because the company owes us $30 000 each and this is to ensure that we go away empty-handed. The matter has been handed over to NMWU,” he said.
SMM spokesperson, Steven Nyagura was not reachable for comment.