- February 14, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
MORE than 1 000 former Zimasco (Pvt) Ltd workers in Shurugwi face eviction from company houses after their ex-employer reneged on a pledge to sell the houses to them.
The mining company has since served the former workers with eviction notices.
The fight over ownership of the dilapidated houses, some of which were built in the 1950s, has seen Zimasco also increasing rentals from $95 to $503 per month, a move tenants say is well calculated to push them out after failing to pay the new rentals.
Mr. Jaison Moyo, who chairs the Chrome Mine Residents’ Association (CMRA) said more than 1 000 families face eviction.
“From 2014, the company has been retrenching and most of the people occupying these houses are retrenched workers. We were promised houses as retrenchment packages and we signed agreements of sale to that effect,” he said.
Mr. Moyo said the former workers were therefore shocked when management changed goalposts and said the houses were not for sale.
He said the company had agreed to sell the houses for an average of $4 700 per unit.
The company has however announced that it is working on turnaround strategies that include disposing of its houses and other assets.
Documents on the proposed turnaround strategies indicate that Zimasco intends to sell absolute inventory and residential properties.
The company said it is working on restructuring and re-organising through utilising idle assets and disposing of non-core assets.
These include residential properties in Harare, Kwekwe, Shurugwi, and Mutorashanga.
It also plans to lease out its facilities such as hospitals, clubs and guest houses.
According to a letter written to tenants from the manpower services manager, Mr. Fungai Manyau, Zimasco, has since increased rentals.
“Your new rental fees shall be $503,38 per month and that is effective March 1, 2020. The rental shall be reviewed periodically going forward taking into account inflation and cost trends,” reads part of the letter to the sitting tenants signed by Mr. Manyau.
Mr. Jonathan Javangwe, coordinator of the CMRA said this was a well-calculated move to evict the former employees for failing to pay rentals.
“We haven’t been employed for over six years and some of us are still waiting for our retrenchment packages. Where do they expect us to get the money for rentals from? They are looking at ways of legalising our evictions,” he said.
Mr. Javangwe said the company attempted to evict them in 2018 and the then Provincial Affairs Minister, Cde Owen Ncube, intervened and stopped the evictions.
He said some tenants had spent money on electrification of the houses on the understanding that they were going to buy them.
“After such an investment it is unfair for the company to renege on the agreement to sell the houses to sitting tenants,” said Mr. Javangwe.
Asked to comment, Zimasco general manager in charge of marketing and administration, Ms. Clara Sadomba, said the matter was under judicial consideration.
“Thank you for your email below. I have consulted internally on this issue and Zimasco, therefore, needs to advise in response as follows: Please be advised that the matter to which you are referring is sub-judice as it is under judicial consideration at the High Court.”