PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says Konkola Copper Mines are liars, cheats and want to take Zambians as fools. President Lungu said he is on the Copperbelt to end the marriage between his government and Konkola Copper Mines.
He said “enough is enough of exploitation from KCM” despite buying the mine so cheaply.
President Lungu said this upon arrival at the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola yesterday.
“We had a few matters to do at State House in Lusaka and of course, the Vice-President came back last night and I had to go and see her, she is doing very well. But my coming here is for one reason, one reason, the people of the Copperbelt want a divorce between themselves and copper mines namely KCM and Mopani. I want to hear it from the unions and the reason is simple, people have cried! I saw some women, some of them half naked crying that they feel cheated by the mining company KCM, and Mopani to some extreme,” President Lungu said.
“I have come here that if it’s the will of the people to divorce, I will do so. The message being made is clear. I want to consult the Chamber of Mines. I will be meeting them. The Mineworkers Union and other unions to find out what they think and I also have my position, and my position is that enough is enough. Zambians have been taken for a ride by the mining companies.”
He said KCM was bought so cheaply.
President Lungu said the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka and other lawyers would guide on how to share assets.
“KCM was bought for (US$) 25 million and we paid it all, our copper paid for the mines. They have done nothing since then, just promises, we can’t continue…. I am aware that there is a law in this country which should be followed, the Attorney General is here, the lawyers are here and will guide us on how we proceed with the divorce. So we will talk without any fear,” he said.
“I want to say this frankly because I know the opposition, those detractors who don’t see any good in what we do will be saying he is scaring investors. We are not going to scare any investor. Their investment is safe and those who want to come and invest should do so. I know there are other investors who are willing to come and invest in the mines. Immediately we kick them [KCM and Mopani] out, others will come and invest. There is engagement and disengagement even in marriage if things go bad…I am saying this without fear or favour.”
President Lungu said KCM had made enough profits.
“They have made money and taken money. We will ask the lawyer to tell us how we will share the assets and I know we will get married very soon. These are our mines.”
“Why should they tell us they are making losses from the time they came? If they were making losses, they could have gone. They are liars, cheats and take us for fools. I will not allow that. Those that want to work with us will follow our laws. It’s a sovereign state and if we say the way we want to manage our tax regime we decide we will not be blackmailed by investors. Those that don’t want to stay can go. Sales tax is here to stay, VAT is gone. We decide,” said President Lungu.