THERE was drama at a house in Maglas area, Shabanie Mine, in Zvishavane when a mother of four poured five litres of petrol inside her house and doused herself with some before daring people sent by Shabanie Mashava Mines to evict her to get inside the house.
Thompson Black, who is now surviving on selling tomatoes in the mining town, threatened to burn herself and her belongings if she was evicted.
Black’s husband is among the 35 former Shabanie Mine employees and their families who have been targeted for eviction as the company paves way for lecturers and students from Midlands State University who are supposed to move in by August.
The workers are part of more than 1,000 employees who used to work for the collapsed asbestos mine that was once owned by South Africa-based businessman, Mutumwa Mawere.
Black told The Chronicle that she was ready to die for the house.
“My husband worked for this company for 20 years and is yet to be paid his benefits but they now want to chase us out like dogs. No, that won’t happen. I’ll have none of it,” said Black.
In another incident, Simbarashe Mabheure, the son of Phenius Mabheure, a former worker, locked the people who wanted to evict his family inside the house.
The incident is said to have happened around 1PM on Thursday and he only opened the door at about 5PM.
Former Shabanie Mine workers are resorting to desperate measures to avoid eviction. Some of the ex-workers’ tricks have failed to produce the desired results as their property has been thrown outside the houses.
Antonio Msipa, Alfonso Marimbe, George Bafana, Naume Gondiwa, Lenard Chinhadada, Taurai Zhou, Tryson Chiware are some of the ex-workers and their families who are now living in the open after they were evicted.
SMM is renting out its general offices to MSU which has turned them into a university campus.
Part of the agreement, ex-workers said, was that the mine would also avail houses to the university for students and lecturers’ accommodation.
Chairman of former Shabanie Mine Workers Union, Aluwis Zhou, said the workers who were being evicted are yet to be paid their outstanding salaries and benefits running into several thousands of dollars.
“All they’re saying is go out but to where? We don’t have money, we’re broke,” said Zhou.
He said the workers had been fighting for salaries since 2009 and were now fighting a losing battle over the mine houses.
SMM Human Resources Manager, identified only as Tupwani, could not be reached for comment while the company lawyer, Patience Chigariro said she could not discuss her clients’ matters with the Press.
SMM and Gaths Mines were once the world’s sixth largest asbestos producing entities with an annual output of more than 140, 000 tonnes.
The fallen mining giant, which was once under judicial management before being taken over by the State-controlled Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, at its peak employed more than 5, 000 workers and supported at least 200 downstream industries. chronicle