Friday, November 26, 2010

Zambians have benefited little from copper - FES

COMMENT - What is the title of 'the book'?

Zambians have benefited little from copper - FES
By Darious Kapembwa in Kitwe
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:00 CAT

FES resident director Heiner Naumann has said making the constitution is not democratic enough if there are no people to defend and protect its democratic provisions.

And Naumann has said Friederich Ebert Stiftung (FES) is working with unions and the civil society in the belief that these organisations are pillars of Zambia’s democracy.

Speaking in Kitwe on Tuesday during a book launch by the Mineworkers Union of Zambia on the Zambian mining industry that was supported by FES, Naumann observed that making a constitution was not democracy in the absence of someone to defend it.

“Democracy is only strong through the people and by the people not just by writing a constitution. If nobody is defending its democratic provisions, then it’s hollow.

That is why FES supports unions and also partners with civil society organisations like the CSPR, we do this in the belief that all these organisations are pillars of Zambia’s democracy,” Naumann said.

He said very little had been achieved from Zambia’s copper in form of economic and social benefits by the Zambian people.

"A lot has been published on Zambia’s mining boom but very little has been done in terms of social protection for workers and the general economic outlook of the country and the situation in the mining industry currently is that mine owners look at labour as a cost factor when in fact it is a major component in production," Naumann said.

"And it is sad to note that management functions in the mining industry are being transferred from producing countries to the headquarters or the country of origin for particular mine owners."

Naumann said issues of safety, health, social and job security in the industry had to be critically analysed and that labour leaders needed to do more research in order to present sound arguments.

"Our organisation will continue to support research of that nature by independent bodies as solidarity is more than justice," said Naumann.

And MUZ president Rayford Mbulu said critics who thought MUZ argued without proof had been shamed by the volume of information which research director Charles Muchimba had gathered in the book.

Mbulu said there had been a void between 2000 and 2010 which had been filled by the new book.

And Copperbelt University lecturer Davidson Chilipamushi who reviewed the book said it was a bankable reference to both the academia and stakeholders in the sector.

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