Hwange colliery workers’ wives demonstrate

Police in hwange used force to break up a demonstration by the wives of the colliery workers here who were demanding that their husbands get paid. The colliery workers have gone for five months without being paid their salaries.

Worker’s representatives claim that Hwange workers have not been paid for the past five months. Hwange Colliery has been dogged by viability problems over the years, owing to poor capitalisation and poor markets.

An acute economic meltdown from 2000 to early 2009 almost brought industry to its knees, and most major companies are still struggling to break even.

A workers’ representative who refused to be named for fear of victimisation confirmed the demonstration.

“We held feedback meetings last week and the women took it upon themselves to demonstrate on behalf of their husbands (who need to protect their jobs).

“Some walked up to 15 kilometres but were intercepted and beaten-up by Support Unit (military) members and police who had sealed off the Hwange general office,” the unionist said.

Hwange Central legislator, Brian Tshuma, told The Zimbabwean in an interview that police had used excessive force leading to the hospitalisation of four women.

“Workers wives wanted to stage a sit-in because their husbands have not been paid for five months. They cannot buy food or send children to school. Some have committed suicide.

“But before they even reached the company’s main offices, police violently broke up their procession. They have arrested two women, Nyarai Ngoma and Evelyn Dube, who are currently being held at Hwange Police Station,” Tshuma said.

Police in Hwange were issuing mixed messages when The Zimbabwean sought comment. The Officer Commanding Hwange police who only gave his name as Tigere could neither deny nor confirm the incident.

“I cannot give information on the phone please call our Press and Public Relations officers.”

Matebeleland North police spokesperson, Spiwe Makonese, was said to be busy and a Sergeant Ndlovu who answered her mobile phone denied the demonstration took place.

“We have not heard that. Nothing of that sort has been reported to us,” Ndlovu, who refused to provide his first name, said.

“I am the only Ndlovu in this office and that should work just fine for you,” he said. Hwange Colliery Company’s spokesperson Burzil Dube’s mobile was not reachable.

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