ZVISHAVANE – Over 100 families have been left homeless in Zvishavane after Shabani Mashaba Mines Holdings (SMM) evicted workers it suspects to have joined other companies.
Some of the victims of the recent evictions include workers who have resigned due to ill health, reached retirement age and were waiting for their package from the Mine.
The Mine has been under Judicial management for the past eight years following a Reconstruction Order in terms of section 4 of the Presidential Powers (Temporary measures).
Human rights activist Nkosilathi Moyo said the move by SMM shows how ruthless the current regime is to the people.
SMM represented by their legal practitioners Chigariro Phiri and Partners issued summons on March 31 giving notice to workers to move out or oppose the move at the courts within 10 days.
Part of the summons read, "An order of the eviction of the Defendant and all those claiming a right through him/her from the house number M3A Maglas Township, Zvishavane."
Efforts to get a comment from SMM judicial management administrator Arafas Mtausi Gwarazimba were fruitless by time of going to print as his number was not reachable.
Many employees who spoke to The Mirror said they fell prey to the evictions because they did not have funds to hire a legal counsel to file their defense within the specified period.
A victim Dube Angelah of M3A Maglas said she resigned after getting injured at work and SMM had promised to provide her with compensation allowance and a package.
"They came and raided my house demanding my ouster together with other victims. All I want is my money and if they give us what is due to us we are ready to leave these houses," she said.
Some of the employees managed to find legal assistance from Tafa and Associates Legal Practitioners and filed their defense against the evictions.
"First they took over the mine from Mutumwa Mawere while it was viable; they destroyed it and 3000 workers were laid off. The level of their greed and bad governance is astounding. Now they have found a cash cow in MSU students and they send elderly and sickly workers packing without any benefits in order to accommodate the students who pay rentals," said Moyo.
A memo by the mine authorities in January 2016 informed all employees that the mine was laying off all of them until further notice and advised those who wanted to seek employment elsewhere to do so until the mine resumes operations. However, a workers union representative said all employees that sought employment elsewhere are the first target of the current evictions.