Pumula residents confront Chinese mine over ‘poor’ working conditions

Pumula North residents, Saturday, confronted a Chinese mining company, Hualin Investments, for failing to provide protective clothing for its workers after one of the locals was injured while on duty.

Haulin was given the nod to set up a quarry mine by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC)and the contract is valid for 10 years.

They set up the mine in the suburb in 2021.

Some residents have protested the mine operations arguing that the heavy blasts are causing cracks in their houses and that the dust from the mine operations will affect their health.

They also say the mine trucks are causing damage to the road infrastructure.

The residents, through the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) convened a meeting with the mine officials demanding answers.

Narrating his ordeal at the meeting, Ephraim Ndlovu said he was rushed to hospital after sustaining serious injuries while working in the mine.

“I got injured on 29 April 2022 around 4 pm as we were fixing the quarry plant, I was wearing my own clothing, I did not have protective clothing. A metal hit my knee and it got fractured. I was taken to Mpilo Hospital, the company paid for my hospital bills and they were coming to see me,” said Ndlovu.

He also revealed that the company paid him his May and June salary but after the assistance stopped.

“After the June salary thus when they started telling me that they no longer have money for my medicals and said my wife should assist in nursing me and doing other physiotherapy exercises. I am no longer receiving the assistance,” he said.

However, responding to the matter during the meeting, one of the directors, Hua Jinhua said the company paid for Ndlovu’s medical expenses for Ndlovu.

“For the work we do, injuries are very common, when Ndlovu got injured we took him to hospital but the hospital conditions are not good, we are buying too much medicine,” said Jinhua.

 “Our business is struggling, it’s now better because you  can now see one or two trucks but when Ndlovu got injured we paid almost US$400 and we continued to pay him his full salary because we knew he was injured.”

He said the company also negotiated for his emergency treatment.

“If we had not paid his leg was going to be amputated but we couldn’t allow that because you are our friends, we are trying our best to do better, if we get good business we can do better here, you can ask your area guy, our business doesn’t have enough cost, I am trying my best, leg injuries cost a lot of money, it was not going to be easy for you, but I did not turn my back on him,” said Jinhua.

“He was injured in my company and I must be responding for him, I was not going to let them stop treating him because they were going to cut off his leg if there was no money,”

Pumula constituency Member of Parliament, Sichelesile Mahlangu encouraged the company to engage residents.

“Talk to your bosses, there is no way you can come to talk to me in private, the protocol does not allow that, whatever you are doing, do it with the proper residents’ structures, we have about five different residents structures, include each and everyone,” said Mahlangu.

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