A group of ex- Teba miners who spent a night at Zomba District Council offices on Monday, ended their vigil on Tuesday after an assurance by the District Commissioner, Emmanuel Bambe to engage all the concerned parties on October 8, 2018.
The group, comprising of 108 men and 25 women, held the vigil to force government to pay their pension arrears which they worked for during the time they spent in South African mines about 30 years ago.
Speaking after a closed door meeting with the leaders of the group, which was also attended by representatives from Office of President and Cabinet (OPC), Zomba Labor office and Zomba Thondwe Parliamentarian, Charles Tikhiwa, Bambe admitted that the ex-miners’ grievances have been there for a long time now and the government is aware of the matter.
Bambe said: “Their grievances are not new to the government and it (government) has been working on it for quite a long time now and at the meantime we can say the authorities have reached a stage whereby anytime soon something tangible will be achieved.”
He further blamed lack of proper communication between the ex-miners and their president at national level, Dick Milanzi, whom he said was not sharing information on the truth of the matter to the members, a development which forced the situation to get out of hand.
Bambe also refuted allegations by the ex-miners that the government of South Africa had already released the said money and that it is stuck somewhere in the government coffers.
Bambe said the planned meeting will involve his office, the ex-miners’ president and the Zomba committee, representatives from Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) and Ministry of Labor.
One of the group leaders, George Mpalira said their committee was contented with the outcome of the meeting.
One of the participants of the vigil, Nancy Ali, admitted that experienced a rough night during the vigil and at one time the armed police officers tried to force them out.
According to the committee, there are 583 names of ex-miners in Zomba who are on the list to benefit from the pension arrears.