Nowhere to go


Mr. Speaker Sir, it is now actually an understanding that these people here entered an agreement with their former employers and the companies have changed hands in times where new companies come in and make arrangements for re-engagement of the same workers and some of these contracts will say when one reaches pensionable age, he has to be retrenched, given a truck or a certain amount of money and he must relocate to his rural home.

The problem is Hwange Colliery, we do not know when it opened and started mining but it is a long time ago.  Madziwa and Nickel Mine opened a long time ago.  Most of these people here were aliens.  Their father came from Malawi and he had his children at Madziwa Mine.  Now pensionable age has arrived, the father long died and now the children are the ones remaining.  They have to go to their rural home.  They do not even know where Zomba is and they are told to vacate the house that the parent used to live when he was born.   They do not have any remuneration and come 2009, a lot of companies have failed and closed.

We have lots and lots of people who are not employed and the new contracts now, because of change of ownership in those mines is coming into effect.  We are finding the people who have been there who were retrenched, they are able-bodied and have not reached pensionable age but are not being employed.  These contractors come in with new people when those people are still living in the compounds.

Mr. Speaker Sir, from where I come from Bindura South, we have got this problem at Trojan Nickel Mine.  People are being shipped out, they are told to go home and they do not have any home.  Likewise in Hwange, one can imagine now – number 1 in Hwange, how old are those houses and the people who are there who have been retrenched?  Where do they go?  They had homes when they were still young and they came to find employment, they got it.  Pensionable age came and he had forgotten about going back home because he was getting remuneration where he was working.  We are saying honestly, Government has to put in place a policy whereby when one is still working, one contributes but when he goes on pensionable age or retrenchment, what they are being given, if at all they get it, is so minute; is so little, one cannot live on it; let alone to tell one to go to Jambezi.

He does not have a home there, the company does not actually go there and construct a home for them and may be one had quarreled with his relatives, he is no longer acceptable.  It is also actually happening with the National Railways of Zimbabwe, it used to be the highly paying company and I worked for the same company.  You go to Sizinda in Bulawayo, the people there are all aliens, most of them are aliens.  You go to Matshobana, it is the same. You tell them to go back home, where do they go?  There are no homes to be talked about.  I think on the social welfare and labour, we have to revise and revisit what we call pensionable remunerable payments.  One has to board a bus, maybe he has gone to settle in Matobo, he has to come to Bulawayo to get his pension or whatever peanuts he is going to be getting.  He boards a bus, comes to the bank and does not get the money.  He has to sleep in Bulawayo but what is he eating and what is the cost of going back home?  What does he buy and how much is he getting – US$30.

We need actually to revive and say as a Government, let us look at the welfare of our people, those that have made the welfare of this country successful. Yes, they came from elsewhere like we also came from Zimbabwe then Rhodesia, we used to go to Wenela.  We are crying to the Public Service, Labour and Social Services Ministry to say there has to be remuneration paid to Zimbabwe because the people went out there, they worked and came back without anything.  Their pensions are supposed to be paid and repatriated to Zimbabwe.  Let us pay our people what is meaningful so that they actually will have a decent life and maybe also to say if need be, if people who are contributing towards NSSA, if it could be increased to say when you go on retirement, how much do you get.  This is across the board, never mind where one is actually working. If you retire, you become a reject and you get nothing. The life that you used to live is no more the life that you are living now.  I want to thank you Hon. Speaker for this chance of airing my two words. I thank you.



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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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