25th December 2012
The Chief Executive Officer
Konkola Copper Mines Plc.
Fern Avenue, Chingola
Private Bag KCM (c) 2000 Chingola
Attention: Mr. Jeyakumar Janakaraj
RE: Open Letter to the KCM CEO
This Open Letter to you has been circulated among the KCM Board of directors, political and civic leaders of Zambia, the local and international human rights watchdog groups, the local and international media and all interested parties.
On behalf of all the sub-contractors of Mechanised Mining Solution we would like to express our utmost disgust in the way you as KCM management have been handling your so-called dispute with MMS. Your actions and intentions have shown your true colours as an organization. By allowing this issue to protract, you have caused untold suffering and undue unrest within Chingola and the Copperbelt as a whole. We will elaborate in the paragraphs below.
You sir Mr. CEO have no regard for human rights let alone any Zambian human rights. If you had a shred of humanity in you, you would have made sure that no one suffers any loss in the process of disengaging MMS from KCM. Clearly it has been your intention to make people suffer; simply because MMS embarrassed you and your team by exposing your short comings in the way you administer some mining contracts and operations in general. You chose to retaliate by withholding payments that were legitimately due, with intent to paralyze MMS operations and other Zambian companies. The reasons for your actions voiced in the public are simply meant to hoodwink the listeners and make you look good.
We are not going to engage in a series of aimless verbal exchanges or threats and counter threats with you or your management. We just want justice for all Zambian companies and contractors. We want KCM to pay up for all the work that has been done by MMS and its sub-contractors plus interest that has accrued because KCM has deliberating been holding back what they owe MMS and its sub-contractors. There is no good reason or excuse for KCM management to punish upcoming Zambian businesses just because they perform beyond your dismal expectations and demand good pay. If Vedanta cannot manage KCM then they may as well go back where they came from so that real mining houses can take up the venture.
We will also take this opportunity to express our concerns at the non-ethical and abhorrent business tactics your commercial and financial management team continues to demonstrate. If we may ask “What is a contract and how does a contract work? Does the negotiation come before or after the enacting and enforcing of the contract?” It seems to us that KCM management has decided to operate dubiously when administering the contracts and we as Zambian companies have fallen prey to these strong-arm manipulative techniques of renegotiating the contract at the point of payment in the name of a “discount”? No one single company/contractor has ever offered KCM a genuine discount for the work already done. All discounts requested by the commercial department of KCM have always been given under duress, usually after threatening the company/contractor with the cash flow problems KCM is experiencing and that they may not be able to pay you in 6 months or so; suffice to say that this act is a criminal act. No company listed on any stock exchange would ever get away with such criminal behavior. How does KCM get away with it? One wonders!
Allow us to educate you a little bit here: According to our MBA education, a contract is an agreement, where two or more parties covenant to perform specific tasks, usually for mutual benefit; a contract is binding and is arranged after thorough examination of all operational and financial risks for a particular undertaking/job/project , by all parties involved. Terms and conditions for the contract are drawn up to safe guard all parties. After all parties are satisfied with the contract terms and conditions, the contract is enacted and enforced. A contract is supposed to be honoured to the letter; the party that fails to honour this will be in breach of the same contract.
KCM has consistently worked tirelessly to dishonor, tactfully, any contractual obligations undertaken with all contractors. You as CEO cannot boast of any contract that has ever run smoothly/successfully since Vedanta took over the running of KCM in 2004. All contractors have universally complained about your style of business as Vedanta and somehow you are proud of yourselves. What a shame! KCM has single handedly destroyed working relations with all contractors like a cancer eating into the professional fabric of our society. All companies of repute are leaving Chingola. Is KCM our curse?
At some point we thought you (Vedanta) were among the smartest people on earth, but now we can see right through your so-called intelligence. Unfortunately plenty of money does not equal to plenty of brains, there is an apparent shortage of intelligence in Vedanta. Did you not really realize that mining was an expensive venture? Clearly you did not take you due diligence seriously. You think making copper is done by swiveling on your inexpensive office chairs and munching curry? Seriously! Copper mining and processing is expensive but very profitable if done the right way with a good investment, the right people, the right technology, good business acumen and ethics. With the current pricing of the commodity everyone else is making a good profit. It is only KCM that isn’t. How possible? Or should we say out rightly it is impossible not to make a profit these days. Ask Mopani and FQM how they make their profits and still maintaining fantastic work relationships with their contractors. Maybe you should sub-contract Anglo America to manage all the KCM operations after all they are ones with a true vision for mining!
Mr. CEO your so-called corporate social responsibility programme means nothing if the people that have worked are not paid? You are supposed to be pushing for a moral social responsibility programme! Your weak attempt to appease our politicians and sportsmen will soon fade as your true image of an evil corporation emerges. Your only interest has always been profitability at all costs; at the expense of Zambian lives. Vedanta may own the 79% of the mining operations but it certainly does not own the people of the land; we are not your slaves that we should go without pay. Need we remind you that the resources you are mining and processing are on Zambian soil and this land belongs to Zambians.
This is what we think; KCM and its management are just bent on lying to our companies and the general public because it is easier to tell lies than to tell the truth and that we Zambians are gullible and easily turn against each other, in other words KCM has been applying “divide and rule” tactics; that is your only “good reason” to withhold any kind of payment even if it is legitimately due.
You might view this as a direct assault against your office but this is the truth as we see it.
If this letter does not move you to act, God will!
Your move Mr. CEO!
(For and on behalf of All MMS Sub-contractors)