PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says Vedanta will not come back to run Konkola Copper Mines, even if they go to God or to a South African court.

And President Lungu says he is very strong, courageous and ready to go beyond 2021.

Speaking when he met mine union leaders from both Chililabombwe and Chingola, Thursday, President Lungu said he was proud of how the mine was currently being run.

“I am very proud of how the mine has been run efficiently. It is an indication that we are able, we have the skills required to run such an operation. I was talking to management a while ago and I assured them that this is the way to go to show them that we can run the mine effectively and efficiently. So kuti twa filwa shani uku running’a mine because yaba Vedanta? Teti tufwile iyo, Balya nga baya ninshi nabaya, tabakabwele (how can we fail to run a mine because of Vedanta? We can’t fail. Those have gone and they will never return). Yes, the employees, contractors from KCM and everybody has demonstrated their commitment to bringing back the mining sector to life and I think this is the way it should be. For those that have been brought back by the same people, and then you say Zambians can’t run the mine, we will run the mine. That is why I am delighted that abalefwaya ukuchita invest bwangu bwangu nga twapwisha ifya liquidation ifi bafwile bayisa (those who want to run the mine, immediately we conclude the liquidation process, they have to come) so that we 100 per cent assent our sovereignty to the mining industry,” President Lungu said.

“Ichinkankala chakweba ati tatule bwekela kunuma iyo. Twalipita kale. Ba Vedanta baliya nangu baye ku court iyaku South Africa, nangu nikumulu kuli Lesa tabalebwelela. Elo ichishika ndelanda ifi ine nshilanda fye. Nangu fikose shani, naine wine ndafwaya uku sangwapo. Kuli bamo abalelanda iyo Lungu waku Chawama, ehe kaili ku Chawama ekwaba abamano (what is important is that we are not going back. Vedanta has left. Even if they go to court in South Africa or they go to God above, they are not coming back! And I don’t speak anyhow; even if things get tough, I will also be found there. Some people say I come from Chawama, yes in Chawama that is where intelligent people come from). Don’t doubt me because I believed in you. And if I believed in you, we can’t fail. Bambi balelanda (some people are saying) ‘I have a vision for Zambia and I know what Zambian people need’. You can only know what Zambian people need if you leave them behind. You can know if you work with them. The mine sector should change and should change for the better.”

And President Lungu said he was ready to go beyond 2021.

“Nabalanda akale ati ifintu fileyenda fye bwino. Ama salaries nabayambako ukufola, ifintu fileya fi lewaminako fye (I have been told that things are going smoothly and workers have now started getting their salaries). Somebody came from London, a Zambian who has been gone for seven years and when he arrived, he came and told me that ifintu nafiwama nomba tiyeni tupwishe (things have become good but let us now finish). Let me say nga twabombela pamo, ifintu kuti fya chitika. Nimona imisebo twalawamya. Echo mufwile mwaishiba chakweba ati teti tuchite ifintu pamuku imo iyo, nipa nono pa nono (If we work together, things can change. I have seen the state of the roads, we will rehabilitate them. You should know that we cannot do everything at once). There is a saying from the Chinese people that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Iseni tubombele ichalo tuchinje ichalo (let us work together and change this country). I am very strong, very courageous and ready to go beyond 2021,” President Lungu said.

Earlier, President Lungu toured Lubambe Mining Plant and urged workers to produce more.

“Let me address the workers and the union here that guys, we are in this together. We are in this together because the more we produce, the better for the economy, the better for the tax collector, the better for everything that we are doing. Infrastructure development, and all these things which we are getting accolades for can only be achieved if we produce more. So for that reason, I want to assure management of this mine that we support you in a quest to perform and begin operations as soon as possible. Let me call upon the workers and the labor movement here like I have always said that nothing succeeds like hard work. We all have to work hard. So as you negotiate with the management of this big mine, remember that success goes to the glory of everyone else but failure is an orphan,” he said.

“And we fail, we will have no jobs. You as union leaders will have no leadership therefore let us watch out and work hard so that we sustain productivity and production here. I have heard that the prices of copper is going up, you will be asking for more money but you cannot ask for more money if you don’t work hard. If you produce more, then demand more. If you don’t produce more, I don’t see how you can ask for more money, even bonuses. So it is up to you labor leaders to make sure you tell your members to work hard.”

Meanwhile, President Lungu emphasized the need for COVID-19 health guidelines to be adhered to.

“COVID-19 is real and the second wave which has hit us now is more deadly. People are getting sick in the evening and the following morning, they are gone. So mask up, sanitize and make sure that you keep that social distance, it is very important. And if you don’t feel so well, please report yourself to the clinic very quick so that they examine you. The vaccine which is coming, we want that vaccine to find you alive,” said President Lungu, who was addressing a crowd which practised poor social distancing.