MINES and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe has warned that he will not hesitate to shut down operations at the Black Mountain in Kitwe if there are any reports of caderism or issues of politics.

And Kabuswe has assured that there will be a boom in Zambia, such that by the time it’s three, four years from now, youths will just be clapping for “Bally”.

The minister was speaking on Wednesday when he met the Zambia National Youth Thinktank and the Copperbelt UPND Provincial youth executive who went to present a solidarity message to President Hakainde Hichilema through Kabuswe on the handover of part of the slag dump.

Kabuswe said President Hichilema was serious on the issue of caderism.

“I want to tell you [that] my President is very serious on the issue of caderism. So, believe it or not, if we hear issues of politics at the black mountain, we will close it. We are coming from regimes where [if] you wear green you benefit and [if] you were wearing red, you don’t benefit. His Excellency the President has come to reunite this country. So if you want to be with a government that is methodical, that is focused, the UPND doors are still open. Come and join because we have systems. So we have arrived and handed over the black mountain in a systematic manner, there is no confusion, there is no fighting. We have handed it over to you in a peaceful manner,” he said.

“So, I am going to deliver the message to His Excellency the President that you are offering solidarity and that you support what he has done and that you are thankful to him. This is the way the country should be run. And I want to assure you that this is just the tip of an iceberg, more good things are coming. We have said that we are bringing sanity to the mining sector this is what we are talking about. We are removing the confusion because we know some people were thriving in the confusion to benefit and benefit alone without allowing others, now we are cleaning it up. We are cleaning the mining sector so that Zambians can benefit from their own wealth. Ichi chalo cha bonse (this country belongs to everyone).”

Kabuswe said he would negotiate with other mining firms to give part of the slug dumps to the youths.

“In the past, we only had a few people throwing pictures on social media after they had been stolen from Zambians. This time around, we are going to share this national cake equally to all Zambians, to you the youths. What I am appealing to you is to be patient. I am engaging other mining firms that are holding on to slug dumps…we want to engage them and negotiate. We are not going to use bukabolala, ukuba rough, no kumaula abantu, no (we will not use corrupt methods, or being rough). We will sit around the table, negotiate, ‘what you have is too big, give a part [of it] to our youths’. So, the black mountain is just one example,” he said.

“The black mountain will be a flagship of how we are going to proceed as a country. We are going to sit around the table, negotiate on your behalf. This is the mandate that Bally has given me that ‘Kabuswe, go and run the mines ministry and let Zambians benefit’. So, whatever I do in the ministry is a reflection of what Bally has sent me to do. If I go the other way, then I am going against what Bally has sent me to do and Bally wants order. Bally doesn’t want disorder. Bally doesn’t want confusion, people dying there in the black mountain, no.”

Kabuswe urged the youths to use the money they would make from the slag dump wisely.

“I want to urge the cooperatives to use this money wisely. I don’t want to see people with guns, with vehicles showing off because of the money of the black mountain, I will shut it down. I don’t want the behaviour of going to weddings and kitchen parties, you start causing confusion there, we are not going to allow that, we will arrest you. Empowerment means you have a proper home, you can have a car, you can have whatever you want but don’t trouble people because of the wealth that you accumulated. That is what the black mountain people were doing in the past. Get empowered, move on with your life and support Bally,” he said.

And Kabuswe said government would work out a system where small scale miners and artisan miners would benefit even from the gold subsector.

He urged youths to get ready, saying there will be “a boom” in the country.

“They (youths and women) will be selling to off takers. If you have something you are selling and the Chinese come to buy, you sell it if the price is okay. I want to make it very clear that the Ministry of Mines or the minister himself has no power in whoever buys from our youths on the black mountain, whatever processes they do. We have handed it over, they will do businesses and we will have no hand in it. The only hand we are going to have in it is to control because we are the government, to control when there is any confusion of any kind, there we will step in. If there is any confusion, we step in but the way you do your business and how you sell and where you sell that is up to the cooperatives that are involved there. Ours is to provide leadership and make sure that there is no confusion there,” he said.

“Through the media, I want to tell you that we are busy mobilizing and organising the gold subsector because that is where we are also going to change the game. We are going to work out a system where small scale miners and artisan miners are going to benefit even from the gold subsector. So youths get ready, there is going to be a boom in this country, if you are not ready uka shala panshila (you will remain behind). But I want to assure [you] that this government by the time we are reaching the third and fourth year, you will just be clapping for Bally. Get ready, there is a gold subsector, there is the manganese subsector, we are organising, even the copper itself.”

He emphasised that government would do the correct thing regarding Mopani and KCM that would benefit the country.

“Mopani, KCM, I am assuring you that whatever government will come up with is for the benefit of the Zambian people. Sometimes we may look like we are taking long, it is because we want to do the correct thing. So just watch the space and see what the leadership of UPND and Bally are going to do for the Zambian people. I am sure even the 1.8 plus others will join in and run with us as UPND and President Hakainde Hichilema,” said Kabuswe.