PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says Zambia has lost men who wanted to transform their lives through engaging in meaningful activities rather than stealing. Hundreds of Kitwe residents gathered at Chisokone and Chingola cemeteries to pay their last respects to the ten small-scale miners who died after a portion of the Black Mountain collapsed on them.
Five small-scale miners (jerabos) were buried at Chisokone cemetery, four in Chingola and the other one would be buried at Kalulushi’s Chibuluma cemetery. Present at ZNS Chisokone cemetery was mines and mineral resources minister Richard Musukwa, who represented President Edgar Lungu, Copperbelt permanent secretary Bright Nundwe, Kitwe deputy mayor Evaristo Chilufya and Pavyuma Kalobo, the Wusakile member of parliament.
In a speech read on his behalf by Musukwa, who on Friday called the deceased as scavengers, President Lungu said the Black Mountain turned into a death trap for the young men who were only trying to earn a living through mining.
“…Young men who placed hope in turning the fortunes of the Black Mountain slag for better livelihoods for themselves and their families. We are remembering them as those who tried very hard to better their lives by engaging in meaningful work as opposed to vices that endanger our young people,” President Lungu said.
He said the safety measures that were put in place at the mountain were not sufficient to prevent the accident that claimed the ten lives. President Lungu said the government would engage the mining industry and other stakeholders to discuss ways in which the operations would be promoted at the Black Mountain.
He said the deaths of the ten small scale miners should be a lesson to plan for all eventualities such as national disasters that might take place in the country. President Lungu advised Zambians to turn to God when such happenings occur in the country.
He assured the public that solutions would be found so that “the good intentions of the government are not lost”.
“Despite all the measures that the government has put in place, they were not sufficient to prevent the accident but let us not point fingers at each other but instead mourn as a nation and as government, we will ensure that safety is promoted at the Black Mountain so as to safeguard the lives of our people,” said President Lungu.
In Chingola, Bishop Innocent Mwansa of Fire by Fire Deliverance church from Wusakile congregation, in his devotional and encouragement to the bereaved families, said people should prepare themselves for death as it was the only way that humans meet with God. He said humans should begin to seek the face God before death for them to know where one would go when they die.
“Death is bad because it steals and destroys people’s plans but it is good because it enables one to see and meet God but before we die, we should all start preparing ourselves for death,” said Bishop Mwansa.
And Chapamo Mineral Processing Investments Limited director Kelvin Tembo said the company had taken full responsibility for the accident and they would release a grant to the bereaved families. Tembo said measures would soon be put in place to ensure that safety was observed at the slag dump. And Pavyuma advised families to desist from being deceived by people who were trying to work against the government’s plans