GREEN PARTY PLANS TO ASSIST AFFECTED BUTONDO RESIDENTS IN MUFULIRA TO SUE GOVERNMENT FOR COMPENSATION IN RESPECT OF THE 2012 ACID MIST POLLUTION FROM MOPANI COPPER MINES
Following a major acid mist pollution incidence that occurred in Mufulira’s Butondo Township in February 2012, emitted from Mopani Copper Mines Heap Leach Plant situated close to the Township, Government through the Office of the then Vice President, Dr Guy Scott constituted a team of medical experts, under the auspices of the Disaster Management Unit, to undertake a survey so as to determine the impact of the emissions on the health of the residents, particularly, children. The research team conducted the health survey and submitted to a report to Vice President in July, 2012.
The medical doctors established that the emissions had severely impacted the health of a very significant number of children in Butondo Township. They also recommended the compensation and relocation of the affected households from the hazardous area. Over 200 households were found to have been severely affected by the acid mist pollution.
However, almost five years and five months have lapsed since the pollution incidence. Nothing has been done by Government to have the affected children compensated and relocated from the hazardous location as recommended by the medical experts. Government has also deliberated withheld the findings of the health experts all this time.
The law on civil litigation in Zambia provides that an aggrieved person must take court action within six years of the occurrence of an incidence otherwise that person is statute barred to seek redress through court process. This means the affected persons in Butondo Township have remained with only about six months to go before their claim for becomes stale or bad at law.
In view of the foregoing, the Green Party plans to assist the affected children. The party has given a seven day notice to Government, through the Vice President’s Office to release the report to the affected persons, as well as facilitate their compensation according to findings and recommendations of the medical experts.
If Government fails to do so within the stipulated time, the party will have no option but assist to the affected Butondo residents seek redress through courts of law before their legitimate claim becomes statute barred.