…as 78 year old battles for life at Makurira Clinic

RUTENDO  CHIRUME

MASHAVA – Countless reports have been made in the country of Chinese nationals abusing local workers, physically, mentally and financially and the situation does not seem to be getting any better as witnessed recently by the alleged kicking of a 78 year old employee’s genitals at Empress Gold Mine in Mashava.

The abuses have left many wondering whether the Look East Policy adopted by the late long time ruler dictator, Robert Mugabe is a curse or a blessing.

“While the Chinese are bringing the much needed employment, cases of abuse of workers are worrisome and authorities must act before the situation gets out of hand as there are possibilities that workers may end up taking the law into their own hands and fight back a situation which is not good for business and relations between the two friendly countries.

“They should not treat us as slaves or second class citizens because they are benefiting more than us from our God given natural resources which they are plunduring at minimum cost,” said a human resources lecturer at Great Zimbabwe University on condition of anonymity for professional reasons.

Onias Murada is battling for his life after he was kicked by a safety shoe on his privates by his Chinese supervisor resulting in serious internal injuries last week on Saturday while on duty change over at the mine.

Empress Mine in Mashava at Boss Mine turn off along Bulawayo Road is owned by Lingchan China Africa Company operating in the country with other gold mines in Kwekwe and other places.

Murada is said to have been taking a rest as they take turns to guard the mine during the night after day shift with two other employees and when the superviser who was identified as Cheng arrived at night he found the latter asleep.

Murada was sleeping because the other two were patrolling the area, but the supervisor is alleged not to have bothered to find out the actual situation as he went on to mete out instant justice on the elderly employee.

The Chinese supervisor switched on his heavy duty night torch and this confused Murada who suddenly woke up thinking that theives had invaded the area only to be met by  a heavy kick on his privates and he collapsed on the scene and was ferried to Masvingo Provincial Hospital for treatment.

On the same night he was transfered to Makuririra Memorial Clininc for specialist treatment where he is battling for life after his condition continued to deteriorate. Although a docket has been opened no arrests have been made as sources say Cheng is saying they were fighting.

Masvingo  Province Police spokesperson, Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa  said he does not have the report although he has heard about a man admitted at Makurira Clinic and promised to revert back after communicating with the officer in charge at Mashava.

Sources told this publication that the matter was suppose to go for trial today (November 23, 2022) at Masvingo Magistrate Court, but the doctors advised that Murada was nor fit enough to appear in court.

The conditions at the mine are said to be horrible as workers have no off days and they have to send money to their loved ones through third parties as they never get an opportunity to visit their home areas as they are always on duty.

It is also said that there is a lot of bullying at the mine such that workers’ morale is at its lowest ebb and they are unable to engage mine workers representatives because they are not given time off at work.

“Murada was guarding the machine in the company of his two colleagues  Tatenda Gudoshava and Elvis when their boss came and found him asleep. It is not like they are not allowed  to  sleep, actually they take turns to sleep. Whilst the other two will be guarding the machine.  Cheng came and without  asking he attacked Murada. He took pictures and flashed a torch at him such that Murada suddenly woke up in panic assuming Cheng was a thief. He advanced towards him that is when their boss attacked him by kicking  him hard on the testicles  with his safety  shoe. He crumbled  to the ground screamed for help but Cheng did not look back. Management and night guards were informed about the incident and Murada was then ferried to Masvingo Provincial Hospital  where he later got transferred  to  Makurira,” said a source.

One of the workers who requested anonymity  for the sake of his job lamented the working conditions at the mine saying two weeks ago they had a similar incident where one worker was pushed by their Chinese boss and sustained  broken ribs.

“Working conditions  are very hard at the mine but we toil because we want to earn a living. Mostly  we are shouted at, harassed and even beaten for no reason. Our bosses are very cruel. Last week we had a similar incident where one of my colleagues was pushed and sustained  rib injuries and is currently receiving treatment for the injuries. 

“Nothing has been done to the perpetrator and we wonder whether there is a different justice system for the local workers and Chinese bosses as they commit crimes with impunity. We have tried to engage them so that we can review our working conditions but to no avail. It is two weeks since we wrote to them explaining our grievances, but nothing has been done yet, not even a reply. We are worried  that  if it continues like this, the situation might get worse and the responsible authorities  will fail to contain the situation,” said the disgruntled worker.

In an interview with The Midweek Watch  Associated  Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ) national organizing secretary, Dingilizwe Zondo raised concern over the Chinese treatment of employees  and called on the Government  to protect its citizens from the Chinese who abusing employees at mines across the country.

“It is not the first time we are receiving such reports, for example in Matebeleland North working conditions are such bad that, workers are locked inside, no visitors are allowed in the inside. Some workers are working  beyond 14 hours without rest relief a day, pay days are ignored.

“The Chinese are cruelly  treating our people. If you are luck to get inside the mine  you meet supervisors  who will tell you that the owners are not available or some flimsy excuse in order to prevent you from seeing them. We call upon the Government  to put in place mechanisms to correct the situation before situation  gets out of hand. We have since set up a meeting with the  Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare so that we can dialogue and discuss the plight of mine workers who are being abused by the Chinese employers,” said Zondo.

In Qatar the on going World Cup is in turmoil as human rights organisations are up in arms against FIFA for dining with human and migrant workers’ rights abusers during the construction of the imposing eight stadiums which cost a whopping US$200billion yet employees were not paid or were paid slave wages with some of them dying from appalling working conditions with no compensation to their loved ones back home. 

Meanwhile sources have informed this publication that the Mashava abuse case has been brought to the attention of the Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Ezra Chadzamira who is also the local Member of Parliament for the area.

By Editor

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