UPPZ president Charles Chanda says PF under President Edgar Lungu has no capacity to address the problems in the mines.
Chanda said it is evident that Zambia has a government full of illiterates.
He said the mine job threats would not end as long as the government does not show care for the people.
According to a brief issued to all KCM staff, management stated that it had been left with no choice but to downsize operations at Nchanga Smelter due to low availability of concentrates.
“Management wishes to advise employees and business partners that starting on 4th January, 2019, Banded Sand Stones (BSS) operations at Nchanga Underground Mine will be suspended due to low acid availability as a result of rationalized operations at the Nchanga Smelter. Nchanga Smelter Operations will be downsized due to low availability of concentrates. The management was left with no choice but to scale down operations under the circumstances as the introduction of 5% import duty on concentrates has made the smelting of imported concentrates commercially unviable. KCM needs to import concentrates in order to meet smelter capacity and blending requirements,” read the brief.
Speaking at a media briefing in Kitwe at Pamo lodge, Chanda said Zambians on the Copperbelt were living miserable lives.
“I’m tempted to think that we have a government full of illiterates. This government needs to go back to school, because they are treated like illiterates who don’t understand the running of the mines. Look, copper is sold in dollars not Kwacha, so why should the mines pay taxes in Kwacha? This is where the problem comes in. Let the President Edgar Lungu call me, I will give him ideas. Let the Minister of Mines call me, we will give them ideas,” Chanda said.
“I’m shocked that we have a minister on the Copperbelt who does not have any information on the mines; what is he doing? Surely…we have a government of illiterates.”
Chanda said the PF had no capacity to solve the problems in the mines because they were part of the problems.
He said President Lungu should show leadership and come down to sort the job threats in the mines.
“PF has no capacity because they are part of the problems in the mines. If President Edgar Lungu loves the country, he should come down to the mines. Our government can’t read and can understand English; that is the problem. The government does not have an idea of the minerals that are leaving the country,” he said.
“The problem at the moment is not the taxes. Tax for the mines is not a problem, the problem with the mines is the ability to monitor the activities of the mines. The government does not have any data on the minerals being exported. A lot of things are happening with the current mining regime. The President should get on board. Sorry but Levy Mwanawasa is the only president who managed to monitor the minerals and tax(es).”
Chanda said at the moment, Zambia was incapacitated because government does not know which minerals were in the country.
“Investors are not only getting copper, but even uranium. These mines are stealing and the minister is sitting and watching with air con in his office,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that we are in a province where underground we have holes being made that will never be filled up. We have people living in poverty while the underground is eaten up.”
Chanda also said it was not pleasing the way the PF had handled the black mountain.
“Even ministers are there at the black mountain and clang on, yet our youths are suffering. Our youths are slaves of the Chinese on the Copperbelt. Look at the welfare of the youths on the Copperbelt. We have now ancestors at the black mountain masquerading as youths in the PF government to rap of the black mountain,” Chanda said.
He said this was what happens when leaders who have suffered in their lives are given power.
“It is not a secret, life for the people on the Copperbelt is very miserable. The situation is bad and needs a solution. This is problem of bringing politicians who have suffered in life and failed to find solutions to their sufferings, so when they see anything…” said Chanda.
Later Chanda announced changes and new executive leaders of UPPZ on the Copperbelt.
He has vowed to frequent the Copperbelt and grow the UPPZ because the current PF administration had failed the Zambians.