CARITAS Zambia and a think tank called Sustainable Natural Resource Empowerment Initiative Limited (SuNREI) have demanded that the Government provide clear updates on the pending revival of nearly dormant Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) and Mopani Copper Mines.
In a joint statement issued by CARITAS Zambia Chingola/Chililabombwe Coordinator Eugene Mulenga said it was depressing that the Government has not adequately addressed the issue of KCM and Mopani thoroughly in recent times.
Mr. Mulenga said he had anticipated Preside Hakainde Hichilema to address the issue of KCM when he recently visited the Copperbelt Province.
On Mopani, Mr Mulenga questioned where the Government will get the money to revive the mining firm.
“It is however sad that the president did not address the issues surrounding KCM as above everything else, that was what the people expected to be the priority issue and that of Mopani mines as he visited the Copperbelt. The lack of capital in these two mines has caused misery amongst the people of the Copperbelt. On Mopani, it was reviewed that the government had sourced funds to put in the operations of the mine, but the question that begs to be answered is, what are the sources of the funds? And conditions have been attached to the funds if any? The other question is, how does the government intend to manage and run Mopani mines? On KCM, people were expecting to be at least told what the government’s counter proposal was to that of Vedanta, who is sitting on the negotiating table for Zambia and individuals representing the voice of the community and when we should expect those negotiations to be concluded. Government promised to resolve all issues in the extractive sector within a period of one year and before the end of the first quarter of 2023.We expect those matters to be resolved with the agency they deserve yet with caution not to fall in the same old misfortunate that did not benefit the country and the surrounding communities,” Mr. Mulenga stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mulenga has bemoaned the closure of some companies accused of being closer to the previous Patriotic Front regime.
“Usually when there is a change in government, I see a lot of evil in our politicians and I ask myself, are we really a Christian nation? What really baffles me is this appetite by our politicians to want to finish and kill whatever business or businesses owned by people perceived to be political enemies and those associated with them.
This kind of behavior is not only backwards (retrogressive) but evil as well. Only evil people delight in the suffering of others. When a new government comes in, I personally would expect them to create new business opportunities for their sympathisers and not to come and kill what is exciting in order to put their own. When we do that, we really do not change anything because we continually occupy the same space and it becomes a battlefield. There is simply no economic growth! There are so many businesses and companies that fall victim to this retrogressive behavior. We saw what happened to the Zambian Airways, the Post Newspaper, Minestone and most recently Savenda and many others too numerous to mention. In trying to fix certain individuals, our politicians forgot that the people who suffer the most are the employees and their families.Aside from Savenda, there are many companies and businesses that have suffered a similar fate. And taking a case of Savenda, which has place about 800 employees on forced leave and on the verge of losing their jobs, let us look at the economic impact of these decisions our politicians make,” Mr. Mulenga remarked.
“Assuming that the number of the affected employees from a number of companies is 2,000 breadwinners then we are looking at over 26,000 people affected directly and indirectly just because of the 2,000 that have lost their income. This means those that received rentals to feed on their house will not, house maids and garden boys will not have jobs, that person with kantemba will not sell because people won’t have money. It means people will fail to pay school fees, help ill or sick relatives; marriages will break and won’t have money to help family members in the Villages. The targeted individuals may be very few but the impact is collateral damage. I know these people may have some issues but there has to be a proper way of dealing with the situations at hand without destroying what has taken so many years of hard work to build. Savenda should be a source of pride for Zambia and I strongly feel we should protect the company but deal with directors if found wanting, so too the other affected businesses and companies. Development and real economic growth requires participation of local companies and businesses. We need to see multinational corporations owned by Zambians that are able to deliver goods and services at local and international levels, and for us to achieve that we need government’s support for local companies with potential,” he concluded.