Renco Mine shuts down as ownership fight drags on

Renco mine

By Alex Bell
8 February 2013

The fight for control of the Renco Mine in the Masvingo province has led to the closure of the mine, with government leaders being urged to intervene.

The RioZim run mine has been the site of a labour dispute for several weeks, a dispute that turned political when ZANU PF MP Irvine Dzingirai took over as the manager. He had threatened staff that they had to work under him or face dismissal. He also threatened RioZim directors.

This was revealed by RioZim in a statement last week, which also implicated Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi as the instigator of the ZANU PF take over.

“Minister Mzembi arrived at the mine… He called a public meeting and announced that RioZim had not complied with the indigenisation obligations of the country and hence they were taking over Renco,” RioZim said in a statement last week.

The mining firm has since approached the High Court in a bid to secure their rights to their mine, but the court on Wednesday reserved judgement on the matter, leaving the mine in limbo. Renco Mine manager Cyprian Kachisa reportedly told the NewsDay newspaper on Thursday that they had ceased all operations and ordered the 2,000 workers to go back home until the issue had been resolved.

The MDC-T’s spokesperson for Masvingo Province, Harrison Mudzuri, told SW Radio Africa that this situation is further damaging Zimbabwe’s abilities to repair its economy by encouraging new investments.

“We are disturbed by these developments and we feel sorry for the workers. A prolonged shut down of the mine will cause serious problems for employees, for the mine, for Zimbabwe’s future. We call on the leaders in government to intervene and solve this crisis,” Mudzuri said.

Minister Mzembi has denied RioZim’s accusations, saying he only became involved with the mine when Renco workers lobbied him, as their local MP, to intervene in a pay dispute.

Criticising the RioZim statements he said: “That’s political slander. I’m surprised by their statement, which seeks to politicise what is a dispute between them and their workers,” he told Reuters.

He has since retaliated, publicly accusing RioZim of offering him a US$100,000 bribe. He was quoted by the state run Herald newspaper as saying: “They tried to buy me out of this case, with a US$100,000 brown envelope which I turned down, preferring to advance community and worker issues which they have blatantly violated over the past 40 years.”

Mzembi has also threatened to sue RioZim for ‘defamation’, revealing that he was challenged on the Renco Mine situation during a meeting with the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretariat. Zimbabwe is set to host a UNTWO meeting in Victoria Falls in August, and Mzembi has been busy trying to convince the world body that there will be no problems.

He revealed in an affidavit filed at the High Court this week that the UNWTO Secretariat questioned him on the Renco situation while he was with them in Spain last week. The group is understood to have asked why the Minister was taking over the mine, after media reports on the situation surfaced.

This caused Mzembi to lash out in anger, saying in his court affidavit: “The allegations made against me are malicious, scandalous and defamatory.”
He added: “They are intended to insult me in my personal capacity, ZANU PF, the government and people in my constituency who voted for me that I am a wrong minister who has no respect for rule of law.”

SW Radio Africa was unable to contact RioZim on Friday. Minister Mzembi’s phone also went unanswered.

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4 Responsesto “Renco Mine shuts down as ownership fight drags on”

  1. Anonymous says:

    We all know ZANU(PF) `s work when we are towards elections.

  2. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    It is 33 years after the country attained independence and it is time our people now own and control their mineral resources. They should now be the employers who are capable of creating wealth for themselves, their country and not only employees of foreign capital who receive a salary at the end of the month or a wage at the end of each week. Salaries and wages they earn at the mine are not designed for wealth creation but for paying their bills and food only. We need our own Tiny Rowland among the indigenous people of this country who are capable of creating wealth for themselves and offering employment opportunities to our own people. It is no longer time to think of foreigners but to look at the interests of the indigenous people of this country. Just as foreign countries have interests to protect and so should be Zimbabwe. We should know where our interests lie and direct our energies where it is relevant.

    • Yoozak Hunt says:

      Since when did MINISTERS walk in and take over private companies.

      What Biti did with his ‘$217 statement’ is mere droplets compared to the damage done by this Mzembi fool. It his HIS actions that would damage Zimbabwe’s future, and credibility in hosting this meeting in Vic Falls. What RIGHT does he have to do this.

      It is HE who has politicized this, not the Mine management…. this is not protection… now watch this space, if these fools take the mine over, thre will be no investment for Capital and resources with which to mine, and all that will result is 2000 staff get made redundant….

      Tell me, what would you have said if an MDC-T MP had taken over the mine???

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        You say verbatim, ‘tell me, what would you have said if an MDC-T MP had taken over the mine???’’ and here is my answer to your question above.

        If the MDC-T MP takes over the mine and has what it takes to develop the mine to its former glory that will be sweet music to Chimbwidos Warvets. After 33 years of being sovereign and independent state, we should be having our own Tiny Rowland of the indigenous extract who should own and control our mineral resources and all land of this country. It is too long a time for foreigners to continue dictating terms to us.

        Our problem is that foreigners who are exploiting our mineral resources have convinced your mind that you cannot own and control the minerals in your country because you do not have the brains to do so. Have you ever asked yourself why all the wealth from the land to its mineral resources on the African continent without exception is still largely being owned and controlled by Europeans and not the legitimate owners of these? My answer is that we are where we are economically because Europeans who have completely no precious minerals of their own in their own countries always play games with you guys and you do not see it. They played games during slavery and today they are playing a game of sophistication.

        The point is for as long as you do not believe you are equally capable of working your mines, you will then turn this important resource to other people in the western world to do it for you. But
        the sad thing is that nobody of the European extraction came to our country exploit our minerals with the Zimbabwean people in mind. It has always been in pursuit of their economic interests and not that of my people. It is for this reason that all wealth producing resources should be owned and controlled by Zimbabweans, be they MDC-T, MDC-N or ZANU-PF.

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