State House reacts to mine union

Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Dickson Jere said Tuesday that President Rupiah Banda’s performance in the mining sector has been outstanding in the last one year where he managed to secure tens of thousands of jobs amidst the Global Economic Crisis.

Jere said it was sad to read remarks attributed to Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) General Secretary, Oswell Munyenyembe saying President Banda had failed to inspire and impress miners in the past one-year he has been in office.

Jere said one of the key achievements of President Banda has been the manner he handled the crisis in the mining sector at a time when most investors had planned to put the mines on care and maintenance, which could have led to job losses.

“President Banda personally intervened and persuaded mine owners not to pull out of the country. If they had done so, tens of thousands of mining jobs would have been lost,” Jere said.

Jere said the statement by Mr. Munyenyembe, in The Post Newspaper, shows that he has deliberately chosen to ignore the facts on the ground. He said under the leadership of President Banda, Zambia has done remarkably well in mitigating the adverse impact of the global economic crisis.

Jere said Luanshya Copper Mine is out of care and maintenance and thousands of jobs have been saved and created. Munali Nickel Mine is about to re-open and jobs will be created. Recently, Chambeshi launched its copper smelter, creating more jobs. Overall, growth in the mining sector is robust and the sector is expected to grow by 15.2 percent this year despite the global economic crisis.

In case Mr. Munyenyembe, as a union leader, is not aware, the measures taken by President Banda have helped to stabilise the membership of his union. While Zambia lost an estimated 8,500 jobs in the mining sector, the comparable figure for the Democratic Republic of Congo is 200,000 and South Africa 30,000. Most of those who lost jobs in Zambia have been reemployed in case of Luanshya Copper

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