Walter Nyamukondiwa in MAKONDE
Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko has castigated the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) for failing to manage the operations of several mines under its watch throughout the country.
This comes amid revelations that there are no exploration experts in ZMDC resulting in the quantity of copper reserves at Mhangura Mine remaining unknown.
Acting President Mphoko’s concerns come amid reservations that the ZMDC has failed to effectively take charge of operations at the Golden Kopje Mine, whose resuscitation it superintended in 2013 after the mine’s closure in 2002.
“ZMDC should not behave like expatriates by derelicting on their duty. People died for this country and thorough work should be done to ensure our mines are operational,” he said.
Acting President Mphoko said this after touring the two mines where he felt ZMDC should do more to bring cohesion and viability to State-owned mines for the benefit of the country.
“I need to brief the President on what I have seen. ZMDC should work closely with other stakeholders so that our mines start operating. We have trucks coming from Zambia full of copper. We should also do the same here,” he said.
Golden Kopje Mine manager Mr Peter Chimudzi said the ownership of the mine was not clear as an unnamed Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe subsidiary was also claiming ownership while ZMDC was also asked to take over by Government.
“ZMDC says they did not get the ownership documents from the Ministry of Mines while the others claiming a stake also do not have the papers,” he said.
The mine sits on 45 claims with only four having been mined.
Cde Mphoko also toured Grain Marketing Board silos at Lions Den where only four out of the 29 silos are working. The rest have been damaged and outlived their 10-15-year lifespan.
Meanwhile, Acting President Mphoko also toured David Whitehead Textiles in Chegutu where he got a briefing on the challenges facing the company.
He received conflicting reports from the company’s judicial manager Mr Knowledge Hofisi and a representative of the workers’ committee Mr Edison Mutemeri.
Mr Hofisi told the Acting President that the company required $1,8 million.
He raised high prospects for the company giving an impression that all was well at the company.
“We have applied for $1,8 million to acquire critical spares. We have 200 workers and in the short term we are looking at employing between 600 and 7 000 workers if we get the $1,8 million,” said Mr Hofisi.
In response, Mr Mutemeri accused Mr Hofisi of lying saying the company was in serious debt.
He said only management was benefiting from the company at the expense of its workers whom it owed $8 million in salaries.
Mr Mutemeri said Government should allow employees to take over the company since they were the major creditors.
“We are saying Mr Hofisi is not suitable to be the judicial manager here because he is an interested party. He once worked here as a financial manager and now he is coming back as a judicial manager. He roped in others like Mr Edwin Chimanye who mismanaged the company. Mr Chimanye left the company after the intervention of President Mugabe.”
Acting President Mphoko said the David Whitehead matter was serious. He summoned both the management and workers to his office next week with reports detailing their concerns.
“Kana nyaya iyi yakambopindirwa naJongwe (President Mugabe) then you must make sure that you must be thorough,” he said.