Angry ex-workers lock up management at State-owned gold mine

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By Kwekwe Correspondent

PROTESTING former employees recently locked management up and blockaded the entrance to Jena Mine in Silobela as the demanded payment of their outstanding salaries and severance packages.

Jena Mine is owned by mining parastatal, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

Nearly 50 ex-employees took part in the protest, picketing the company’s premises as they demanded benefits that have been outstanding for three years.

Production had to be halted over the two-day demonstration.

“Ex-workers blocked the main gates and locked management and other employees in the company premises,” said an employee who asked not to be identified.

“They were demanding their outstanding salaries and terminal benefits. No truck was allowed to get in or out over the two-day protest. Even staff members who wanted to go for lunch were afraid of going out.”

He added; “During the stand-off no ore was ferried to the mill plant from the mine.

“We understand the Human Resources Manager asked ZRP if they could intervene, but they only promised to visit the site if the ex-workers continued with the protest or turned violent.”

Silobela Member of Parliament (MP) Mthokhozisa Manoki Mpofu has accused management at Jena Mine of corruption, saying the was adversely impacting employees.

Staff at the mine have been struggling to get their salaries regularly over the past three years.

“Employees are not getting their salaries in full; it is disturbing especially in these economic times,” Mpofu told this publication in an interview.

He claimed that nepotism was also rampant at the mine with locals being side-lined “in favour of outsiders who are connected to ZMDC bigwigs”.

“Corruption is being kept under wraps at the mine because perpetrators are related to senior management,” said Mpofu.

“We have gathered that senior managers are getting their allowances whilst lower level workers are not getting anything.

“The general welfare of workers is not catered for as there are no drugs at the clinic and the mine bus was last serviced about a year ago.”

Apart from Jena mine, ZMDC also owns Elvington and Sabi gold mines.

Of the three, only Jena is fully operational, albeit at a loss, while Sabi and Elvington are under judicial management and care and maintenance respectively.