The move by President Mnangagwa to block the evictions of former Shabanie Mine employees from the company houses has been welcomed by the former mineworkers who are now calling on the mine to give them their dues in foreign currency so that they move out of the houses.
According to some of the workers, the situation is so bad that parents can no longer afford to take care of their family needs like school fees, medical bills, and food hence they need the mine to pay up owed terminal benefits in hard currency.
A survey by Great Dyke News 24 revealed that the closure of Shabanie has caused social and economic problems in the town, with the moral and social fabric of the community being torn apart.
Marriages have irretrievably broken down due to poverty-induced challenges while crimes and prostitution are rife as the people look for alternative sources of survival.
Some households have been forced to dispose of their valuable assets to purchase food while children under 18 at the nine have also turned to wood poaching in a bid to make ends meet.
Great Dyke News 24 managed to speak to Leo Gonese who was employed by the miner for 37 years 4 months.
In an interview with Great Dyke News 24, the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) secretary-general Justice Chinhema said they are set to engage the Shabanie and Mashaba Mines (SMM) management to make sure that they pay what they owe to former employees in foreign currency.
“There is no eviction that is going to take place anymore, but we are not going to stop here, the issue that we are going to deal with is the payment of salaries.
“These people are not employed to get accommodation, they were employed to get their salaries.
“They have got outstanding salaries from 2009 and this is the matter we are dealing with right now while people are still accommodated in their houses.
“The issue of houses is not a matter that we must cry much about. What we are saying is that they must not evict the employees before paying them,” he said.
“We are going to engage the management, we once talked to the administrator and he said they are doing some fundraising so that they pay their creditors.
“They have already sold some properties to MSU and Great Zimbabwe so we want to know where the money has gone.
“We are saying the money must pay the workers with outstanding salaries and we are going to make sure that they are paid in United States dollars,” he added.
Speaking to Great Dyke News 24, Zvishavane Runde legislator Advocate Cathbert Mpame revealed that paying the employees in local currency will be unfair to them hence there is a need for payment in United States Dollars.
“We once discussed the issue of currency together with some Ministers and Cde Mahwite (legislator for Zvishavane Ngezi) where we said these employees must be paid in US dollars because paying them with bond notes will be unfair to them.
“So the employees should know that the highest office in Zimbabwe has heard their concerns, also the employees are entitled to their full pension.
“Going forward, we are going to have a series of meetings between ourselves, the unionists, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Mines, the administrator and all other interested parties and come up with an amicable solution to all the parties involved in Shabanie Mine,” said Mpame.