Ngozi mine female waste pickers lament abuse

Female waste pickers at the Richmond Landfill (Ngozi Mine) in Bulawayo face abuse from their male counterparts.

This came out in a report compiled by Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) recently following a digital skills empowerment workshop.

Women and girls involved in the waste picking business alleged that they suffer physical, verbal, emotional and economic abuse at the hands of their male counterparts, industry middlemen as well as council workers.

“Female waste pickers at Ngozi Mine landfill site noted that there are male waste pickers (especially youths) who push and insult them as they scramble for the valuable and precious waste. Some even narrated incidences where some of the boys snatched their pickings,” the report read.

“They noted that waste buyers are buying the waste at very low prices which is tantamount to slave labour for the waste pickers. The female waste pickers also complained that there are syndicates controlling the waste buying market to the extent that it is difficult for a picker to by-pass the middlemen and sell directly to the waste recyclers.”

The report highlighted those female waste pickers who stay at Ngozi Mine complained that their spouses demand their daily takings and squandering it on alcohol.

“Having collected the little earnings from the waste buyers, the female waste pickers lamented economic abuse from their spouses and partners. Some of the women (especially those resident at the Ngozi Mine slum settlement) said their male spouses are no longer picking waste but spend the day squandering all the little resources women waste pickers make in drinking beer,” read the report.

“Some of the female waste pickers even bemoaned ill-treatment from Bulawayo City Council refuse collectors whom they accused of literally wrestling for the waste in order to get better pickings for resale also.”

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