Hwange-based companies came under fire yesterday as residents complained bitterly that they are deliberately being excluded in terms of employment, even for junior positions of cleaners, which they claim don’t require special skills.
This came out during a district alternative mining indaba organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd).
According to The Chronicle, one of the participants said they have not gotten jobs at local mining companies despite the fact that they are contending with the effects of the mining operations.
“We can’t get jobs here. Mining companies bring their own people mainly from Harare. We are only left with coal dust and the gases emitted from power generation by the ZPC (Zimbabwe Power Company) while the mining companies take all the profits with them,” fumed one of the residents.
The other said; “When Makomo (Resources) started operating here, they brought lorries and brand news buses carrying people they had employed already.
Some were from Beitbridge.
“They say we can’t employ you because you don’t have qualifications. At some point they said they needed someone with five Ordinary levels for one to be employed as a cleaner. What do you need five Ordinary levels for?”
Assistant District Administrator, Mrs Nyaradzo Masoja, who attended the indaba, told our Harare Bureau on the sidelines of the event that even local chiefs are not amused by the way companies operating in Hwange are recruiting.
“Chiefs came with the complaint saying ‘our people are being sidelined when it comes to employment by local companies’. We then engaged the companies and we reached an agreement in 2017 that they should start recruiting locals, mainly for jobs that don’t require skills which they may not have.
“So after the agreement with the miners, we are now at the stage of assessing if the miners are meeting their side of the bargain.
“But I am happy that we are making headway because when ZPC flighted an advert for apprenticeship recently, it said people should send applications to Harare but after we protested, they then said they were going to give first preference to those from Hwange district,” said Mrs Masoja.
ZPC is also said to have promised to recruit the bulk of people from Hwange district for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station where units 7 and 8 would be added to increase power generation at the station by a 600MW.
Currently, Hwange Thermal Power Station has an installed capacity of 920MW.
Hwange district has several coal mining companies such as Hwange Colliery Company Limited, Chilota, Makomo Resources, Liberation Mining, Zambezi Gas and Mota Engil (which was contracted by HCCL ), among others.
Zimcodd executive director Mrs Janet Zhou ,told The Herald Business that meetings such as the one held yesterday are useful insofar as they provide valuable insights which are then forwarded to Government.
“After the district, we have the provincial mining indabas then we have the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba. We then have the international indaba, which is held in February every year.
“Ours is a parallel indaba to the one where Government and mining companies meet. Ours meets citizens that are impacted by mining operations to find out how they are impacted and we come up with declarations of how they want extractives to operate and we take the declarations to the alternative indabas so that miners take care of issues such taking care of the environment, low capacity development, employment, and the like,” said Mrs Zhou.