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Women in mining communities neglected: mining and human rights watchdog

by Staff Reporter
10 Feb 2020 at 09:34hrs | Views
A mining and human rights watchdog organisation has accused government and mining companies of neglecting women in mining communities.

This follows the death of a Hwange woman after a tunnel she was using to sneak into Hwange Colliery Company Limited's premises collapsed on her and her colleague.

Simelani Dube (31) of Madumabisa village, Hwange died at Hwange Colliery on Wednesday 5 February and her friend only identified as Martha is battling for her life at St Patricks Hospital in Hwange.

Centre for Natural Resource Governance said Simelani's death highlights the vulnerability of women in the mining areas.

"It is unfortunate that the government of Zimbabwe has failed to provide social protection mechanisms for women like Simelani and Martha.

"As Zimbabwe's economy crumbles and Hwange Colliery Company Limited abdicates from its corporate social responsibility pledges, the Hwange Community now survives largely through several illicit activities which include sneaking into the company premised through a tunnel to steal coking coke," the organisation said in a statement.

According to CNRG, the economic environment forces most women like Simelani to find alternative ways of survival, including poaching coal and coke for sale in order to fend for their family. Simelani died while trying to poach coke for sale.

"For decades, women in Hwange have watched coal and coke being mined and exported out of the country while the communities bear the brunt of coal extraction. Hwange residents continue to inhale polluted air, and having their children and livestock burnt by coal ashes.

"Over the years, women affected by mining in Hwange have made pleas demanding that government and HCCL provide grants for them to make a decent living."

In 2018 the Hwange women staged a protracted demonstration against HCCL over their husband's unpaid salaries, among other issues. The reforms have been piece-meal as reflected by the outcome of the court decision that forced HCCL to give the workers outstanding salaries including some menial grant for women to engage in income generating projects.

The Farai Maguwu led organisation called on Hwange Colliery Company Limited to provide safety and security measures that will inhibit people from illegally taking coal coke in their premises and also fully implement Safety, Health & Environment initiatives around their premises so that lives can be saved.

The organisation also called on the Environmental Management Agency to regularly monitor SHE compliance in all companies without favour or bias.

Source - Byo24News