By Staff Reporter
MINES Minister Winston Chitando has moved to stop the eviction of former Shabanie-Mashava Mine employees from the mine houses, a move that is widely seen as an attempt to curry favour with the ex-employees ahead of the crucial July 30 election.
The giant asbestos mine owns Shabanie Mine in Zvishavane and Gaths Mine in Mashava.
The mine ceased operating full scale in 2004 after the Government annexed the assets from South African-based Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere through a reconstruction order, alleging the company was State-indebted and insolvent.
Several attempts by government to resuscitate the mine have collapsed due to lack of investment.
However, the Zanu PF led government has used the asbestos as its campaign trump card often promising thousands of former workers that the mine will be resuscitated.
Speaking at a Zanu PF rally at Maglas Stadium in Zvishavane on Tuesday, Minister Chitando who is also standing on a Zanu PF ticket in Gutu Central constituency, stated that no more evictions will take place as planned before.
“There is no employee who shall be evicted from the mine houses until we have completed the process that shall see current and former employees being given ownership of the houses once the programme to sell the houses has been completed,” said Chitando to thousands of party supporters in the mining town.
“The widows of former employees will not be evicted from the houses until that exercise has been completed.”
The mine authorities have been evicting former employees and widows of deceased employees from the property and renting out the houses as a way of raising money.
This has not gone down well with some of the affected individuals who have dragged the mine to court.
In May, SMM management revealed that they were in the process of liquidating its property which included about 5 000 houses and prime land in an effort to raise about $250 million to resuscitate the mine.
The mine has already sold some of its property to the Midlands State University who have established a satellite campus in the mining town.