MINE Workers’ Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Joseph Chewe says the Union will support any government action meant to drive Vedanta Resources out of Zambia.
Commenting on Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Provisional Liquidator Milingo Lungu’s move to split the company into two subsidiaries, Chewe hailed the decision as a development that would keep Vedanta away from re-taking control of KCM’s operations.
“Vedanta has failed to run the mines and we want them out! And the union has been advocating for this since 2005. You are aware that they are the one who started out-sourcing, and Vedanta placed some employees who just started working after out-sourcing. They brought in companies through out-sourcing that they failed to pay. And eventually, they sent out most of the members into destitution after they let them go, and most of us are still into destitution, others even died. The business in Kitwe, Chililabombwe and Chingola has come to a standstill. Those doldrums were day-to-day proceeding and we said, ‘Vedanta has failed to run the mines.’ And they have completely shut off Nkana Smelter, it is now scrap. They have closed underground Nchanga Mine, and they even started picking rail lines underground from Nchanga to Konkola,” Chewe said.
“So, the destruction that they have left in this country, those of you sitting in Lusaka, you will cry the day you will go into these plants! And they have stopped employing since 2012. They have deprived the graduates from the University of Zambia, CBU and other graduates. KCM was a source of employment, source of jobs. They have left a lot bankrupt because what they were doing is that if you sign a contract, they would go five, six months without paying you and employees were protesting every month! So, most of the companies have gone under and others have died of depression, and that’s when we said enough is enough, let’s chase Vedanta!”
And he vowed that the union will not tire from advocating for government to take absolute control of KCM from Vedanta.
“They have caused enough damage, let’s chase them, they have caused enough misery, and that’s how we mounted pressure. There were a lot of protests if you remember, and that’s how President Edgar Lungu started siding with us. So, any decision to keep Vedanta operations from these mines, we are happy about it, we are delighted. And the way Diggers! has reported this, it’s as though they are supporting Vedanta, the investor who has done a lot of destruction. So, we are very happy with any action that will keep this investor away,” said Chewe.
“We don’t want them and we are excited with this decision. The way they are operating in Zambia, they cannot be allowed to operate anywhere else. You cannot allow that kind of operation in India. Can you go to India and destroy the operations like that? So, we, as Zambians, should rise above politics and support any move that will take Vedanta away from this country. And any person who will be supporting Vedanta to come back is an enemy of the miners!”