via SMM workers’ woes continue 22 October 2014
Government has failed to honour its promise to pay workers at the troubled Shabanie Mashava Mines (SMM) formerly owned by Mutumwa Mawere.
SMM was specified on 26 August 2004 in terms of the Prevention of Corruption Act and placed under reconstruction a month after government controversially determined that it was involved in unauthorised externalisation of asbestos and proceeds from the sales.
Hundreds of families whose breadwinners were employed by SMM have been reduced to severe poverty and are locked in an intense fight with government who wants them to leave the company houses they have been occupying.
Obert Mpofu, the then Mines Minister, acknowledged that his ministry had taken over the running of SMM from the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry in 2011.
In a letter dated March 24 2011 addressed to home affairs minister Kembo Mohadi following the latter’s query on the legal status of SMM, Mpofu said President Robert Mugabe had given him responsibility over the mines.
“Minister (Patrick) Chinamasa, in terms of a letter dated 25/03/11, has since written to me in this regard,” stated Mpofu, who was transferred to the transport ministry in last year’s cabinet reshuffle following the general elections won by Zanu (PF).
Mpofu undertook to service all the salary arrears but, in a recent interview worker representatives said they had not received anything.
However, the Mines ministry’s role in the SMM saga remains a mystery, considering that, a month after acknowledging custody of the asbestos company, Mpofu wrote an affidavit under oath in the ongoing court case involving Mawere’s business empire distancing his ministry from the firm.
“As the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, my responsibilities are to administer specific acts assigned to me. SMM is currently under reconstruction in terms of the Reconstruction Act, which Act is under the administration of the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs,” says the affidavit.