Sinazongwe Member of Parliament Gift Simuunza Sialubalo has expressed concern with the management of Collum Coal Mine for dealing with villagers only while sidelining the local leaders in terms of buying of land.
This is in a matter where Collum Coal Mine, a Chinese company that operates in Sinazongwe district of Southern Province made plans to relocate over 30 families of Siamugande and Salabula village after they allegedly sold their land at Two Kwacha per square meter and Two Kwacha Four Ngwee for disturbance, a situation that has not sat well we both residents and local leadership.
“What I wouldn’t hide from you is to say that Collum Coal Mine’s name needs to be cleansed because the company is known for wrong things especially on how you tried to avoid us when it came to relocating the people and how much the villagers should be paid, this has really made me very sad,” he said
Mr Sialubalo explained that when it comes to customary land, the chief’s office is always supposed to be present because he or she is the owner of that land as they are in charge.
“You have apologised and we have understood, now a reasonable amount needs to be given to our people so that it is a win win situation,” he said
And Sinazongwe Chiefdom Representative also expressed concern at the Collum Coal Mine’s failure to employ many youths in the area.
“Am very disappointed that only a few of our youths have been employed when a lot more can also be employed,” he said
And Collum Coal Mine has since been directed to top up over 25 thousand Kwacha on top of the Eight (8) thousand on the house compensation, and on the land, the Minie company has been ordered to find an alternative land first for the locals because their livelihoods depend on farming.
Facts surrounding the sale of land At K2 in Sinazongwe are that according to the finding, last year it was established that the company wished to extend the area of operations to a new area where they discovered that there is coal , which is a residential area.
The company then decided to call on two village headmen for Mazyamuna and Fodwi village together with people who are building in that area where coal was discovered to have a meeting with them.
Residents received the information with mixed feelings thinking of where they will go once removed from the area where the Chinese want to start the mine and asked for more time to decide before making a final decision after consultation from the leaders.
The village leadership took the matter to Mr Charles Ntiti who is the Nkandabwe Ward Councilor and also to find out if the council and the district office is aware of the matter.
Residents however accused the area Ward Councillor of having interest in the same land and that he became the mediator between the Chinese and the village leadership to sell the land and that they would be displaced without benefits if they refused to sell the land.
The residents have said that the village leadership refused to measure land but Mr Charles Ntiti used his powers to measure the land ,the Civic leaders also used their date stamp to authorize the sale of the land by the community to the Chinese company.
And when contacted for the matter, the area Ward Councillor told the media that he is not allowed to talk of anything as the matter is under investigation.
However, the Sinazongwe Member of Parliament Gift Sialubalo instructed the United Party for National Development – UPND district youth chairman Mr Bbabbi to go and tell the residents that the MP is aware of all the problems they are going through .
The MP through the district leadership assured the people that no one will be removed from the area and that he will visit Zambia Environmental Management Agency – ZEMA Head Office in Lusaka to find out about why residents should be displaced from the area without its authority.