While these workers, largely the civil servants were pushing filled up trolleys and had smiles on their faces with most shops in Zvishavane crowded, Geshem Shumba a Shabanie mine worker waited outside shops with his cart to help the shoppers carry their groceries to where transporters operate from.
With dry parched lips and sweating under the heat that has hit Zimbabwe, Geshem tries to charm potential clients as he is not the only one providing this service. There is a lot of competition as he competes with other people some young enough to be his children.
When approached by RadioVOP he smiles, assuming it is a potential client and shakes his head when asked how business is faring.
He said he wished he worked for another company that is not Shabanie and wishes he was earning his salary and given his 2011 bonus and confirms that since the introduction of foreign currency they have not received any pay from the mine.
“Things are hard and we had hoped things would be different this festive season after the human resource audit called by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Cooperation (ZMDC). We were told that we would be paid three months salary but nothing happened. We have not even received a single cent,” he said.
“Actually they worsened our situation because after that announcement we have to go everyday to the mine premises to sign in the register.
“Even those that had got part- time jobs lost them because they could only report to their jobs after first going to register at the mine. The government has treated us unfairly and now we have been reduced to paupers,” Geshem said pain written all over his face.
Geshem is not the only one in this predicament; this is almost the same situation that every Shabanie Mine worker is facing. Most of Shabanie mine workers have had a torrid time to put food on their tables for their families.
In September a worker verification exercise was conducted. The exercise promised a new era to the hard done workers most surviving on doing menial jobs and selling juice cards and other things bringing excitement to them.
The workers who have not been paid since the mine’s ownership wrangle between the government and exiled business man Mutumwa Mawere had hoped their fortunes would be turning around for the best.
However several months after the verification exercise, nothing has been communicated to the workers and no funds have been released.
“We are still waiting to hear from the government but we are living miserable lives. It’s a shame that while we used to live comfortably before the departure of Mr Mawere, we are languishing in poverty.
“What angers the most is that the people who caused this situation are still earning and are able to feed their families while they have completely ignored our situation,” said another worker who was at his Maglas home packing wares to go and sell in the city centre.
The workers said the future remains bleak. Their hopes of a new lease of life have sunk after the government-owned ZMDC that took over the Mine in September, has failed to fulfill its promise to resume operations and pay workers three months’ wages.
SMM was owned by Mawere’s Africa Resources Limited, but the companies were put under the administration of Afaras Gwaradzimba after the former was elbowed out of the firm and forced to flee to South Africa after Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono accused him of externalising foreign currency during Zimbabwe’s economic woes.