Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Written by Mulimbi Mulaliki in Solwezi
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 10:01:54 AM
LABOUR minister Austin Liato and North Western Province minister Joseph Mulyata were on Monday prevented from entering Kansanshi Mine administration block by a security guard.
Liato and Mulyata, were visiting the mine in view of the global financial crisis and the problems mines were facing.
However, the duo was blocked from entering the mine by a guard and no senior mine officials were on hand to receive them because they had journalists in their entourage.
The guard said he had been instructed not to allow the minister and his entourage in.
But Liato expressed concern over management's alleged arrogance towards the government. He castigated Kansanshi Mine management over their poor industrial relations and attitude towards senior government officials.
Liato accused the mine of disrespecting government officials.
"There is a serious degree of disrespect for authority. Even though you had notice that we were coming, no officer was available to welcome us and I have difficulties to understand your style of management," Liato said.
"What is surprising is that what is normal with other mining companies is very abnormal here at Kansanshi Mine. If you treat me a minister like this, what about a poor Zambian you have employed?"
Liato refused to speak to the company public relations manager Godfrey Msiska and instead demanded to address the full management team. However, Msiska later went to call First Quantum Minerals Limited director of operations Matt Pascal and human resource manager Linda Mambwe.
Liato said his visit to the mine was of great importance in view of the global financial meltdown and the government was concerned and wanted to secure jobs for the Zambians.
"These colleagues in the media are the ones who in fact brought out the issue of the current global financial crisis and we move with them so that the country and the world could be informed. I am wondering why you don't want them to be present," said Liato.
Kansanshi Mine has been denying most senior government officials entry to the mine.
Early last year, when President Rupiah Banda was still vice-president, he was denied entry into the mine because he did not make an appointment.
The Human Rights Commission was also denied entry in the mine for having journalists in its entourage.