Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has called on the Ministry of Labour to investigate the abuse of workers by Chinese companies at Norton and in Buhera saying our ancestors are not happy because their people are being abused by foreigners.
He said the abuses were being perpetrated at the Norton tile factory and at a lithium mine in Buhera.
“The issue has escalated to a point where 20 people have been disabled and fired,” he said.
“What I want to say from the bottom of my heart is that our ancestors are not happy because their people are being abused by foreigners. We are a spiritual country and people are not happy. Why are we making our own people second class citizens?” he asked.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. The onus is on Members of Parliament to also know the law. It is not one sided but it is both sides. Moving forward, my question is directed to the Minister of Labour. In terms of the unfair labour practice being meted on the citizens of this country by most foreign companies, especially the Chinese, for example the Chinese factory in Norton which I am happy you did visit and there are some findings you came up with. However, the issue has escalated to a point where 20 people have been disabled and fired. At the new Lithium Company in Buhera, Manicaland; our people are being whipped by the Chinese again. So there is great abuse of our own people. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that there is fair labour practice upon our people in this country because they are suffering at the hands of foreign investors, especially the Chinese in the two institutions The Buhera Lithium Project and the Norton Tile Company?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): I think the Hon. MP is quite aware that we responded to one of those issues which were reported to our office. Now that he is mentioning two other cases, I am sure we will take them on board and make thorough investigations.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, there has been no action and I have said things have become worse. I do not know what monitoring or evaluation system the Ministry has to ensure there is compliance and really what I want to say from the bottom of my heart is that our ancestors are not happy because their people are being abused by foreigners. We are a spiritual country and people are not happy. Why are we making our own people second class citizens?
HON. MATUKE: Thank you. Once again, I want to comment on the companies. They are just like any other foreign investors. The Hon. Speaker is aware that Zimbabwe is open for business and we have attracted quite a number of investors coming from different nations and China is one of them. However, when you present an issue like what you did Hon. Member; we will follow up and ensure that we investigate the issues which are reported but not to single out the Chinese as our enemy. I think there are different investors with different behaviour. We will get to the bottom of what you reported Hon. Member and make sure that we come up with a solution.