Travelling along the Makoni-Machipisa route, several women can be seen lining the road with their hammers in hand.Clad in overalls, they work daily from 8 am to around 5 pm, and are oblivious to public holidays.
“We hire trucks to ferry huge boulders from the mountains which we bring here so that we can break them manually for sale to our clients,” said SihleNtulu.
She said the cost of hiring the truck is $30 but the return from that load is roughly $400.00. The problem is that the money trickles in over a long period of time.
“Sometimes, sales are very low and the profit is realised after five or six months. The business is not that lucrative because we are surviving on a hand to mouth basis,” said the mother of four.
ShamisoMutapwa (63) of St Mary’s said desperation in the economic climate had pushed her to venture into the male-dominated stone crushing business.She has been a stone crusher since 2003,after realising that noone who was going to bail her out of her miserable life.
“My husband passed on in 2002 and the company he used to work for started giving me a pathetic pension of $12.00 with which I was supposed to pay rent and feed a family of five,” she said.
“Sometimes, the pension would not be there and you are told that it would be processed the following month. The problem is that the family needs to eat and that is when I came up with the plan to venture into stone crushing,” she said.
RutendoFatuma from Zengeza 5 said women in urban areas cannot access government money to uplift their livelihoods.
“Money meant to benefit us as women is distributed according to who you know and which political party you support. Most of us have tried but failed to access that money because you are told to be affiliated to a political party before you can benefit,” she said.
Deputy Prime Minister ThokozaniKhupe said women’s aspirations must never be ignored and insisted that government was committed to the economic emancipation of women.
“The development rights of women must be respected and as government, we are committed to the economic emancipation of women,” she said.
However, the Minister of Labour and Social Services, PaurinaMpariwa said government cannot cope with the requirements of the millions ofcitizensnow living way below the poverty datum line.
“Most of our citizens need aid, but we are overwhelmed by demand and we appeal to non-governmental organisations to continue assisting us in their various areas of specialisation,” she said.Post published in: News