MAC: Mines and Communities

Mining giants told to pay back Zimbabwean miners

Published by MAC on 2004-10-01

Mining giants told to pay back Zimbabwean miners


October 01, 2004

Membathisi Mdladlana, the South African labour minister, has warned the country's mining giants and farmers that they must prepare to make back payments to hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean miners who worked and retired without proper payment in South Africa. Mdladlana made the comments at the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Paul Mangwana, his Zimbabwean counterpart, in Pretoria today.

The memorandum considers ways of reimbursing former Zimbabwean gold mine migrant workers and farm labourers. He says the South African government has been approached by many African neighbours on the issue. Mdladlana says the document also outlines policy and guidelines that the farmers, especially around the borders of the country, must follow before employing foreign workers. Those who had employed the migrant workers should get their bank balances and cheques ready, he says.

Zimbabwe and South Africa are doing this on behalf of former mine and farm labourers who did not receive proper severance packages from local employers because of their foreign status. Mdladlana has urged the local farming community not to abuse the "illegal immigrants" because they also have the same human rights.

Mangwana on the other hand says the agreement will continue strengthening both countries' working relations. More than 20,000 foreign farm labourers are employed illegally in South Africa.

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