Zimbabwe mining giant RioZim (Pvt) Ltd has begun evicting more than 850 workers, including widows of former employees, residing at its Dalny Mine staff quarters in Chakari.
More than 10 families have since been served with eviction notices, while hundreds more face a similar fate.
RioZim took over the mine from Falcon Gold in 2016. The evicted claim that they are owed nearly US$6 million and $240 million in unpaid salaries dating back to 2013 when the mine was still under Falcon Gold management.
Secretary-general of the National Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe Mr William Seremani said families are being given five days notice to vacate their homes.
“What is happening at Dalny is devastating, families are being evicted from the only homes they have known for many years.
“They are being given five days to move out after receiving the eviction notices. This is unfair because their husbands died while still serving and their contracts were never terminated. So, legally, they are entitled to these houses as part of their benefits,” he said.
One of the widows, who has been evicted who refused to be named, told a local paper “The Sunday Mail” that her future was uncertain.
She said she started living at the mine close to two decades ago when her husband was employed as an excavator operator.
She is currently living in a temporary shelter. “I lived with my three orphaned grandchildren and it pains me to be kicked out like this because I have nowhere to go,” she said.
“My husband went on for years without being paid his salary. The authorities kept promising that they would pay so we stayed on only to be handed a notice to vacate in five days.”
A mine employee, who preferred to be identified as Jemwa, said he last received his salary in 2014.
“I came from Chipinge more than two decades ago and I can only leave the mine accommodation when they pay what they owe me because this is all I have in life,” said Jemwa.
“Going back to Chipinge means I will have to start afresh therefore I need my salary and benefits to get to my feet.”
Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union secretary general Justice Chinhema said RioZim must pay the workers their dues. RioZim once threatened to evict the employees years back but we engaged them and questioned their stance because houses are part of the employees’ benefits and they legally had no rights to evict them so they cancelled the process. Employees are owed salaries since 2013 and others from 2014. RioZim spokesperson Dr Wilson Gwatiringa refused to comment on the matter. Source: Sunday Mail
RioZim is incorporated in Zimbabwe and is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
The group is divided into five distinct business units; RioGold, RioBase Metals, RioChrome, RioDiamonds and RioEnergy. RioZim currently operates the Renco Gold mine in the southeast of Zimbabwe, the Cam & Motor gold mine in Kadoma, the Maranatha ferrochrome refinery in Kadoma and the Empress Nickel Refinery near the city of Kadoma in Central Zimbabwe. The group also owns 50% of Sengwa Colliery Pty Ltd in Gokwe North, holds a 22% interest in Murowa Diamonds Pvt Ltd and is moving into the chrome mining and smelting industry.