Sunday, March 22, 2009

DC rejects pastors’ petition over closed Luanshya Mine

DC rejects pastors’ petition over closed Luanshya Mine
Written by Zumani Katasefa in Luanshya
Sunday, March 22, 2009 6:27:46 PM

LUANSHYA district commissioner George Kapu has rejected a petition by local pastors over the mode of selling the closed mine. And Kapu has also blocked the pastors from going to see President Rupiah Banda at State House over Luanshya Mine.

The pastors in a petition to President Banda through Kapu on Wednesday stated that they were suspicious over the manner the government intended to privatise the closed Luanshya mine to a Chinese investor.

In their petition presented and signed by Luanshya Pastors Fellowship chairman Morgan Kanjolo, secretary Jossie Sakala and spokesperson Jevan Kamanga, the clergymen stated that earlier, President Banda had promised that ZCCM-IH would take over the mine on a short-term basis as the government was looking for an investor.

"Why are we rushing directly into giving NFC (Non-Ferrous Mining Company)? We know the Chinese have all the dollars in the world as at now. But that does not mean we have to rush into getting any company from China without carefully selecting the right investor," read the petition.

"Today, we got some wind that in the first week of April, a new investor will be announced and that NFC is likely to be the company to be announced. It is a welcome move and that is what we have been looking for. But we have our reservations."

The pastors said they had a lot of unanswered questions by government over the sale of the mine.

"From the six interested investors, we came down to three, then one. What happened to an investor who wanted a management buy out?" they wondered.

The pastors stated they should not be mistaken for politicians.

They also demanded to know the intended manpower capacity of the would be investor and what mine shafts the investor would take.

"Which entities are they taking? Is it 14, 18 and 28 shafts only or is it Muliashi and Baluba Mines? Is it including the smelter? Are they taking the whole lot or part of?" they asked.

The pastors stated that during a meeting with deputy labour minister Simon Kachimba he suggested to them to form small groups and put money together to buy the crusher at 28 Shaft, the Nchanga Farms, the Slags.

But Kapu rejected the pastors' petition because politicians were allegedly using them. Kapu also rejected the petition on the basis that the government had already answered many of their concerns. Kamanga expressed concern with Kapu's handling of their petition.

He said Kapu was not comfortable with the mention of NFC as the preferred bidder for the closed mine. He said Kapu demanded to know the source of their information regarding the preferred bidder.

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