MPs blast govt, Chitando over Hwange crisis

LEGISLATORS yesterday blasted the government and Mines minister Winston Chitando for failing to resolve the long-running strike by wives of Hwange Colliery Company workers.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Chitando had appeared before the Temba Mliswa-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to speak on different mining issues when MPs grilled him over the salary wrangle at Hwange Colliery, which has seen workers’ wives picketing at the company offices for over three months demanding their husbands’ outstanding salaries.

“There is no urgency because when Cecil the lion died in Hwange, there was a lot of respect given to the lion, but now, there are these women demonstrating, but the attitude is like that we do not care about people, we only care about the animals in Hwange,” MDC-T legislator Fanny Chirisa said.

Chitando said the problem with the Hwange case was that the $10 million once-off payment that the workers were demanding was impossible for the company to raise because of its negative balance sheet.

He said the government had sent Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu and Labour minister Petronella Kagonye to address the striking women without success.

“When Kagonye came back, she told me she had met the women and they had agreed to leave the Hwange Colliery premises, but I was embarrassed the following day when MPs asked me questions in Parliament and I told them that the women had left when actually the women had gone back to the Hwange premises,” Chitando said.

“At the end of the day, it is not achievable to have $10 million paid out to them because there is no bank that can lend Hwange that kind of money. On the issue of the sale of Hwange houses, Hwange is a quoted company and to sell their houses, it means it can only be done in June or July through an extraordinary meeting. However, there are two companies that have been engaged to do a valuation of the houses.”

He said the government had tried to meet the workers’ demands, and had agreed that their May salaries would be fully paid.

Chitando said some of the reasons that exacerbated Hwange Colliery’s problems were that they were operating on a cash basis, as they cannot get credit lines from banks.

4 Comments

  1. Mwemba Villager

    It’s not true that the company does not have money when it can manage to buy luxury cars for its managers as well as payment of bribes to scribes.

  2. A forensic audit is needed at the mine to determine if the women are telling the truth. There is a lot that meets the eye where local politicians are also awarded kickbacks to sing praises to the corrupt management.

  3. Treasury Bill

    Now that a special anti-corruption unit has been established in Pres. Mnangagwa office; we want to take Thomas Makore sheninagans there. Minister Kagonye is going to eat humble pie

  4. Management is paid in full and no-one questions that? The school fees for management’s children is paid by the company timely, the company is selling coal on a daily basis and as they put on cash basis? Their last quarter according to their records. production increased, the next quarter production is focused to increase even more. No member of management has ever resigned for non-payment, or fired for non-perfomance. Workers have collapsed and died due to starvation related illnesses, some have simply given up hope or committed suicide, and others are being pushed hard to increase production without pay???

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