GWERU – Located 30km outside Gweru, the road that leads to Reden Mine has nothing to show for a company that is exploiting the community of the precious gold mineral and making hundreds of thousands every month.
Locals have equated Chinese miners to ‘looters’ who are not worried about environmental damages nor do they care about uplifting the Matopo Road community from which they are benefiting from.
“You want to go to Reden? Go down the road until you reach large electrical poles. Turn left and then immediate right, the gate you will be facing; that’s the place.
“As you go down the six kilometer drive, also take notice of the roads’ bad state and dust that disturbs locals as it rises from their dumps. Judge for yourselves whether these guys are here to uplift our communities or loot and go,” said a vendor we met at the Meeting Place turn-off while seeking directions to Reden Mine.
It is from this mine which got popularity overnight for the wrong reasons after the mine manager Zhang Xuelin shot two employees, Kenneth Tachiona and Wendy Chikwira over a wage altercation, an act that has been described by the general populace as inhumane.
Tachiona is still hospitalised at Midlands Private Hospital while Chikwira has since been discharged from the same facility.
Moved by the deplorable infrastructural developments and let alone the odd way in which the unidentified vendor took time to critique the existence of Chinese mining developments in the area, CommuTalk News made an undercover mission to get an exclusive interview with Tichaona (pictured in story cover photo) from his hospital bed inorder to establish the conditions under which they work under at Reden Mine.
“Thank you for giving me attention, but I am in pain,” were Tichaona’s first words during his conversation with this publication.
“Both legs are badly injured and doctors examining me have said I will need at least eight months to recuperate. They however doubt if the right leg will ever be functional again. I will however pin my hope in the Lord,” Tachiona added.
Tachiona (39) is a father of five who had decided to explore the Province in search of work from Mvuma’s Chishuku communal area and earn towards supporting his family as an operator but today regrets not challenging ill-treatment that led to a near end of his life at his job search destination.
“These guys don’t care and never cared for us as workers no matter how hard you work. We were pushed to stay in the environments so as to put food on the table for our families; just that. I recall a mine collapse incidence which exposed the mine’s lack of safety mechanisations. One was left seriously injured and they even wanted to ignore his broken arm until workers spoke up.
“The time I was shot, I was injured all because we didn’t have enough protective wear but I was denied access to even go and seek medical attention. The time I asked to take a few days off so that I heal without disturbance, termination of employment was threatened,” Tachiona further said.
The Labour Act Section 6 (1) (d) however states that, “No employer shall…require any employee to work under any conditions or situations which are below those prescribed by law or by the conventional practice of the occupation for the protection of such employee’s health or safety.”
The Act further justified industrial action as it states in Section 7 (1) (b) that, “No person shall…threaten any employee with any reprisal for any lawful action taken by him in advancing or protecting his rights or interests.”
The Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 65 (1) further submits that, “…every person has the right to fair and safe labour practices and standards and to be paid a fair and reasonable wage.”
Tachiona has so far undergone two Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) sessions for both legs.
Internal fixation is an operation in orthopedics that involves the surgical implementation of implants for the purpose of repairing a bone, a concept that dates to the mid-nineteenth century and was made applicable for routine treatment in the mid-twentieth century. An internal fixator may be made of stainless steel, titanium alloy, or cobalt-chrome alloy.