The UPND says Zambians are not benefiting from mineral resources under the PF regime.
The UPND has futher notes that most jobs in the mining sector have been taken up by foreigners while qualified Zambian experts are consigned to the streets.
Below is the statement issued by UPND chairierson for Mines Percy Chanda:
THE PF REGIME HAS ALLOWED ITSELF TO BE MANUPULATED AND ARM TWISTED BY MINING COMPANIES.
As UPND we are concerned about the growing levels of poverty in our mining towns due to the high levels of unemployment. And yet this Country has very abundant natural resources. Currently we have more mines than in the KK era and yet the number of employees keeps on shrinking, especially under the PF regime. We can’t allow a situation where a Zambian Artisan is on the street yet his job is taken up by an expatriate, and miners working on so called contracts.
The PF regime must realize that the mines are National asserts and as such the people of Zambia are not only beneficiaries but stake holders too. As UPND we have observed that there is too much secrecy on the Development Agreements, this has led to a situation where these mine owners are at liberty to violate laws and exploit Zambians at will. The challenges facing our extractive industry has created a platform where there is widening levels of poverty and inequality. This has encouraged corruption due to lack of information along the entire mining value chain and how resources from this industry are optimized and utilized. We see no benefits of having these mines under the PF gross mismanagement on behalf of the Zambian people.
As UPND we are totally against the selective application of national and international laws and operational standards by our mining companies. Take the issue of out sourcing by KCM; this was unacceptable as this exposed the Zambian worker to all sorts’ of abuse and exploitation. KCM maintained that it was within the law. But before KCM embarked on such a move it should have seriously reflected and considered the prevailing local conditions, such as the poverty levels and unemployment. KCM should not have placed its interests on making huge profits above that of the Zambian people as this violates the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. This can only be blamed on the supervisor, who in this case is the PF regime for allowing itself to be manipulated and arm twisted at will.
There is the issue of Uranium in one of our mines. As UPND we doubt if strict monitoring and safety mechanisms have been put in place to protect miners as well as people living in surrounding areas from the effects of radiation when mining and processing concentrate from this mine in any of the Smelters. As a Parliamentary committee under my Chairmanship we were almost blocked from visiting this mine by one unpatriotic Zambian from the Chamber of Mines. But we had to put our foot down and went there and brought out our concerns, later I presented a report on the same in Parliament. I doubt if PF has made any follow ups and yet this is playing with people’s lives. Ba PF do you know what Polonium is and what it can do to a person?
The issue of our environment in the Mining towns is of great concern. Today Kabwe town is believed to be the dirtiest due to lead contamination. But I have never heard of any plans of cleaning up the mess left behind by the defunct Kabwe mine. So as UPND when we say our mines are being mismanaged, we just mean that and therefore HH and his fixing team will do things differently.
UPND – Freedom Fighter and Chairperson for Mines