Mberengwa – About 400 workers who lost their jobs at Cmine Gold Reef in Ward 36, Mberengwa and villagers from the surrounding areas staged demonstrations on Tuesday demanding compensation from a new investor.
They accused Sutton International Investments, a new investor of grabbing their mine and demanded that the company leave the place immediately .
A spokesperson for the workers Vincent Dube said that they were owed US$3.5 million by Patrick Dawn through his company Maple leaf and this needed to be paid by the new mine owner. There are 366 workers who claim to have been affected by the takeover of the company.
Sutton opened the mine in February 2021 and they had just set their equipment when the demonstrations started. Sutton’s local shareholder, Richard Murombedzi dismissed the workers’ claims and told The Mirror that there were no outstanding payments due to the workers. He challenged the demonstrators to go to court if they had any grievances.
He warned that those promoting violence and criminal activities at the mine will be reported to the Police.
The demonstrators also queried the involvement of foreign investors and contractors and complained that whites were taking over a mine that was their only source of living. They held placards which said that the mine belonged to artisanal miners.
“Cmine ndeya Gweja. Go back, we will not allow any white people to oust us here. Where will we go? This is our place! They don’t have any right to chase us away from this place. We will not stop until they go,” shouted the demonstrators.
Mberengwa District Development Co-ordinator (DDC) Nyede Ndeya said he was not aware of the demonstration.
He however, said that there was a lot of looting at the mine and some artisanal miners wanted confusion to continue through the demonstrations. A proper investor was necessary to bring sanity to the place, he said.
“There is looting at Cmine, proper investors can bring back sanity. Crimes are rampant and this is bound to go down if there is one investor who is in charge and in control of workers. We fear that frequent fights among artisanal miners will one day result in serious injuries,” remarked Nyede.
Mberengwa Miners Association chairman Anderson Tsikira however, said he was aware of some workers who needed to be compensated and demanded that they be treated with respect. He appealed to the two parties to sit down and talk and refrain from confrontation a consensus.