Hwange Colliery Ex-workers Sue Coal Miner Over Evictions

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

HWANGE: Some former Hwange Colliery Company (HCC) workers have taken the coal miner to court seeking to stop arbitrary evictions from company houses they are still occupying.

The coal miner recently went on an overdrive evicting hundreds of its former employees from company houses in Number 1, Number 2, Number 5, and Lusumbami villages.

The evictions come ahead of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to the coal mining town where he will be touring nine mining companies this Thursday and Friday.

However, the affected ex-workers, some who retired 10 years ago, have been staying in the company houses waiting for the full payment of their terminal packages by the struggling company.

They were expecting as much as more than US$20 000 each but were shocked when the company claimed to have paid them in full in RTGS, following monthly installments of about RTGS$300 they have been receiving.

Some have not been receiving the monthly installments, were also evicted, according to former workers who spoke to Wednesday.

According to the retrenchment contracts signed by the former workers, the HCC was compelled to pay them 7% of the package upon the termination of the contracts, and the remainder over 36 months from the first month of payment.

However, HCC went ahead and evicted the former employees with that meeting its side of the bargain.

While it is not clear how many ex-workers have approached the courts, understands that a number have applied for provisional orders to stop the evictions.

One of the ex-workers, Pangani Sibanda was granted a provisional order at the Hwange Magistrates’ Courts, empowering him to reoccupy the house he had been evicted from in Lusumbami last Saturday.

Sibanda who was represented by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance had cited Hwange Colliery Company as respondent.

“The Messenger of Court is hereby empowered to attend to the applicant, remove the blockers and restore the status quo of the occupation of number H4 Lusumbami township to the applicant,” the provisional order reads.

“The Messenger of Court is hereby authorised to enlist the services of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who are there to provide such assistance to the Messenger of Court so as to ensure that provisions of this order are executed and implemented in full.”

Hwange’s Greater Hwange Residents Trust has also backed the former workers and described the evictions as inhumane.