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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Sata accuses China and Malaysia investors of slavery

Headlines Sata accuses China and Malaysia investors of slavery

PF Leader Michael Sata
Chinese and other Asian mining firms in Zambia are creating “slave labour” conditions in Africa’s top copper producer, with scant regard for safety or local culture, the main opposition leader said on Wednesday.

In a typically blunt assessment of the foreign mining sector, Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata, who has a fair chance of unseating President Rupiah Banda in 2011 elections, said the special tax status and “economic zones” granted to outside investors were a political and racial powder-keg.

“We don’t hate the Chinese. We don’t hate the Malaysians, but when they come here, they should treat us like human beings,” Sata, a gruff 72-year-old nicknamed “King Cobra” for his venomous tongue, told Reuters in an interview.

“The Zambian government, by creating zones for the Chinese, the Malaysians, is sitting on a volcano,” he said.

“This is a landmine because those who have no land will react one day. Why should there be special conditions for the Chinese and Malaysians? Why should they have special treatment?”

Sata, whose long and varied career includes stints in car assembly plants in Britain and with British Rail, lost a closely contested election in 2008 to Banda’s Movement for Multi-party Democracy.

If his two-party opposition coalition hangs together, he has a good chance of ousting Banda next year, many Zambians believe.

It is unclear how his vehement and systematic anti-Chinese rhetoric would sit with the Asian mining firms that now dominate Zambia’s Copper Belt, although he said nationalisation of the mines was not an option.

Mines minister Maxwell Mwale dismissed Sata’s claims that Chinese mine bosses were replicating China’s poor mine safety and “slave labour” conditions in Africa, but he did admit to a difference in approaches.

“The Chinese are operating just as well as any other investor in this country,” he told Reuters. “They have their own home country cultures, and we as a host country have our host country culture.”

Sydney Chileya, spokesman for Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM), a unit of China Nonferrous Metals Mining Corporation (CNMC), said the firm was offering reasonable wages.

“As far as we are concerned, we are operating well within the Zambian labour laws,” Chileya told Reuters.

“Our least paid of the 2,300 employees get 1.2 million kwacha per month and that is way above the stipulated minimum wage of 260,000 kwacha for month.”

The spokesman for the Chinese-owned Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS), Lewis Mulenga, said the company was not offering slave conditions.

“We are regularly inspected by officials from the government and the government is happy that we are not flouting the Zambian laws,” Mulenga said.

Many Copper Belt miners are grateful to Chinese investors for rescuing their mines that closed last year after a collapse in world copper prices, and talk of a gradual improvement in Chinese attitudes to health and safety.

“In 2004, the Chinese didn’t want to cooperate with the government. They ignored safety,” said Eric Chirwa, a 40-year-old mining occupational health officer in Luanshya.

“This time around, slowly, slowly, they are getting there, but we still need a lot of education about health and safety. They’ve been in mining in Zambia for the last five years and they’re slowly picking up,” he said. (Additional reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Giles Elgood)



  1. Sata and PF have never relenteted. As long as foriegn enpoyees (mistreat) Zanbians, we will stand for our btothers and sisters. Call us Kanyas or whatever, we will liberate ourselvers.

  2. It doesn’t help to label China the way Sata does. If we have the right laws and implement them accordingly, all these fears will not come to pass. In case we didn’t get the memo, China is the new thing and their deal is better than the huddles the World Bank and IMF made us to jump!

  3. You are making too much noise of Chinese investors Sata, What do you know about investment or economics? Just shut up on issues you dont understand old man.You talk too much.

  4. He hardly understands what he talks about.Its shocking that he cant even substantiate his allegations by getting hands-on information about the working condtions before labelling them as slave.HH understands International Economics hence directing of his energies elsewhere away from the Chinese.

  5. Ka tata, ka Sata, your mouth has costed some peoples support, you nearly had them, but this issue of investors being the only agenda in your manifesto, we need real strategic plans for our economy.
    I think think you should go kumushi, mukulima, and maye just be an MP as ififyena fyekana.. I think its time to start reconciling with the chiefs so they can secure you a place to farm..ABASH SATA

  6. 260pin.Zambian labour laws are an embarrassment and an insult to human dignity.
    Revise those stupid laws.260 is not even enough for lunch.
    How much do you guys who stipulate those slavery laws get?
    Selfish people.Actually that minisrty of labour and whatever is the most useless of all

  7. Miners where among the highest paid in the country.Now?
    Lowest paid.
    Why Zambians don’t talk to foght for the poor?We are too fond of defending they that can defend themselves.Defenceless people are left to suffer.Why call ourselves a christian nation when we are outside the norms of christianity?

  8. There is som truth in was mr Santa says the chines are world nown to treat the workers bad. But let the chinese invest in Zambia but make this a fight to treath workers all over zambia nicley. And makes th laws so hard to the companys who dont follow them they can los there investment back to the goverment.

  9. why do africans allow to be treated like slaves in their own countrys:-? I just witnessed a black guy in africa recently called all sorts of names by a “muzungu” before hem fired him, the “poor” black african had nothing to say in defence, all he did was look on the ground before he was ordered to leave the premisses without pay… Maybe its high time africans woke up and start smelling the coffee:o

  10. The real culprits are those in government. we have a government full of selfish leaders who does not care about the well being of its poeple. there are so many investers including tutembas who are ripping countlesss monies form our country and on top of that they under pay and mistreat our workers. all these are crimes committed by the government and its fake allies against the zambian people.

    its just a matter of time all those involved will pay for their sins.
    Viva to UPND/PF pact.

  11. The display of ignorance by Mr Sata and PF UPND and on Multi Facility Economic Zones is an assault on the very existence of Zambia. Even after 45 years of independence, Zambia engineers are yet to develop basic high tech infrastructure. MMD must be commended for engaging the Chinese to build these Economic Zones that will have the similar features to Silicon Valley in the California area. It has taken over 80 years to build Silicon Valley and this area acts as an incubator for major technological advances ever discovered by the human race. While the USA has the highest number of patented technology, China has now become the largest exporter exceeding Germany which is an industrial powerhouse in Europe. The PF UPND pact must be ignored; they don’t understand how countries are developed.

  12. its sad that these zambians chinees spoks person are supporting these chineese. because of lack of employment zambians are supporting chineese because when they get fired they will have no job otherwise they also get hektick salaries. as low as 500, 000 imagine

  13. PF UNPD pact should stop playing politics with people’s livelihood. If Mr Sata allegations that the Chinese investors are paying slave wages to locals are true, why not raise this issue with the ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals) based in London? His case has no leg to stand on because he has taken bribes from Taiwanese businessmen. The Chinese and other major mining companies are members of this organisation and they have agreed to good practice of mining. Let’s face it: PF UNPD pact ideals do not fit in the new world order.

  14. I have never understood the logic behind Sata’s attacks on the chinese & he never elaborates for some of us who’re not so intelligent to get the point. If an investor is allowed to ignore the laws of the land, then to me the problem is with the people running the country, not the investor. Chinese have invested all over the world without any problems. So it is not a problem of the chinese. It is simply your government that is toothless.


  16. If they are operating within the law, then revise the law.

    Wages in the mines have always been low. Ask ex Zccm miners. What kept people there were the benefits of mealie meal, electicity, housing, schools and other support. It must be terrible for current miners to still get those low wages but without the benefits Zccm offered.

    The govt should do more to help Zambians get discent wages. However market forces are the only major player in today’s environment.

  17. I’m non-partisan but I like that Sata says this. Its great that the Chinese are offering jobs in Luanshya but if nobody says anything, the employers will become complacent and not do right by the people. This way, they are constantly checking their systems to make sure that they are not mistreating people just because people are in poverty. Developed nations use checks and balances…it works!

  18. Hate or love Sata,the truth of the matter is Chinese are slave drivers,for a few crumbs most of you dull and daft bloggers are insulting Sata.Chinese are not in Zambia to help Zambians but to enrich themselves with our resources then leave behind open pits with nothing and lots of people dead due to their lack of safety standards.How much has been given to the families of the the people who died at the hands of the Chinese in Chambishi?Most Chinese companies coming to Zambia are Chinese government owned and bring with them chinese prisoners to work.Wake up you unexposed mongrels.

  19. Sata is right, which ever way you look at it. These foreign investors do not care about the well being of a zambian national, They are there for themselves. RB’s goverment should make sure that the Zambian Employment laws are working if any. Why can they address this issues before they bring in these China and Malaysia people. Have you gone to china or malaysia and see how they are treating their own people. They do care as profits are their main focus. Zambian should wake up and smell the coffee.

  20. what has happened to lusaka times… are you now an MMD mouthpiece ala muli mad imwe… hw do you say “typically blunt assesment” you chaps have been bought off rubish!!!

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