Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Simuusa hails KCM for maintaining workforce
By Ernest Chanda
Tue 11 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

NCHANGA PF member of parliament Wylbur Simuusa says Konkola Copper Mine's resolve to keep all its employees has brought relief to him and other people in the constituency.

About two weeks ago, KCM management had informed the government that it would lay off 2,000 permanent employees due to various production challenges the mining company was facing.

But after discussions with labour minister Fackson Shamenda and officials from the mine unions, KCM rescinded the decision.

Commenting on the matter, Simuusa who is also PF chairperson for mines, said the action implied that the government, employers and employees could dialogue and resolve issues.

"I feel and I know how hard it is for my people when they lose a job from the mines. They cannot pay for water, rent food, etc, and life just becomes unbearable. It is not a situation that should be allowed. I also want to speak on behalf of mine contract workers who are losing jobs everyday in large numbers e.g. UBM, FL Smith. They do not have a strong voice, and in the same spirit I implore KCM and other mining houses to stop the wanton and sudden termination of contracts," said Simuusa in an interview.

"It is a known fact that one of the biggest potential benefit for our people is through contracts to the mines. I call for the strengthening of the Mine Contractors Allied Workers Union Of Zambia (MCAWUZ) who are working very hard and trying their best but need more recognition and help for their voice to be heard and for them to better represent the mine contractors. I urge KCM and all stakeholders in the mining industry to dialogue openly with government so that issues that may need addressing can be critically analysed and a solution found."

Meanwhile, Simuusa disclosed that 5,000 title deeds for former ZCCM housing units on the Copperbelt are ready.

Addressing residents of SQ compound in Nchanga constituency on Sunday, Simuusa said the ministry was processing many more such documents.

"A good number of these title deeds are for Nchanga Constituency alone; this is what we promised you when we were campaigning as a party in 2011. Now we have to regularise other residential areas like R, SQ and MQ and I've had meetings with officials from ZCCM-IH over the matter," he said.

"By the end of this year we shall give title deeds, and we shall give one plot to each person. And the exercise of regularising plots in these areas I have mentioned should have ended by end of June. And where we have broken down houses, we shall treat them as plots when selling them to you."

Earlier, the residents aired their grievances and concerns to Simuusa.
The visibly emotional SQ residents grilled Simuusa on matters affecting their livelihood.

Irene Kazembe openly wept as she knelt before Simuusa and complained that someone had evicted her from a ZCCM house when she was the rightful sitting tenant.

A Mr Mwila complained about high unemployment levels and asked when jobs would be offered to the youth like him as the PF promised in the run-up to the 2011 elections.

Another resident, Martin Mulenga, asked when title deeds would be given to all residents, while Lombe Mulenga complained of poor services from Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company.

Barnabas Mambwe complained: "You the PF promised us free education but our children are not going to school because we cannot afford school fees. And when we talk about the broken down sewerage, we always long for Mwandila who used to even collect garbage, but the one who is here now we don't see him and we don't even know him."

Mabvuto Nkhata asked district commissioner George Sichula and the town clerk, who were both present at the meeting, why they do not grade roads using council equipment instead of waiting for the member of parliament.

Lawrence Mulenga complained about a broken down standby generator at Nchanga North hospital.

However, after Simuusa broke the news about title deeds and the number of roads that were being upgraded, the residents ululated, with one man shouting: Ba Simuusa nga mwafwa, mwikabola (when you die, do not rot)."
Simuusa promised to engage officials from Zesco and Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company on the complaints raised.

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