DON’T impose slavery wages on Zambians, ZCTU secretary general Cosmas Mukuka has told Mukuba Property Development.
And Nina Siavwapa, whose husband Chiinga Siavwapa was killed by an elephant about two weeks ago, struggled to hold back tears as she said animals are being outraged by noise and developments in the Musi-oa-Tunya National Park.
Speaking during a public hearing organised by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) for Mukuba’s proposed Musi-oa-Tunya Livingstone Resort on the banks of the Maramba and Zambezi Rivers, Mukuka urged Livingstone residents, especially youths not to shoot down the proposed 3 and 5 star hotels.
“The hotel (project) is not trying to displace people, now we are hearing about animals as if we are related to them…the emphasis is that since you are saying you want to employ locals, please don’t pay slavery wages. Let workers join unions of their choice and please respect the labour laws,” Mukuka said.
He added that workers needed to work under good conditions.
Mukuka further informed the residents who attended the meeting that if the resort project was a bad idea, ZCTU would have opposed its construction.
Joe Mukoboto of Hotel Allied Workers Union of Zambia wondered why there were negative sentiments every time there was developmental suggestions in the hospitality sector.
Margaret Whitehead, a former councillor, said the notice for the public hearing was too short and that she struggled to read the over 200-page environmental impact assessment report.
She also noted that the resort was going to above tree level.
Renatus Mushinge, at one moment during question and answer session, said he would speak as a Zambian and not Mukuba managing director, and accused Zambians of being sponsored to destabilise certain projects such as the two proposed Livingstone hotels.
“We have a resource that God gave us to use but we want to remain poor. Don’t be used,” he said.
On the issues of finding alternative land so as not to disturb wildlife, especially elephants, Mushinge said the area was the best for business.
Siavwapa asked how Mukuba would help protect Zambians against irritated elephants due to use of fire crackers and gun shots.
She said a lot of Zambians have lost their lives at the hands of elephants.
Assistant director at the department of wildlife Austin Mwakifwamba said an agreement had been reached to have wildlife officers at times at the proposed hotels.
Peter Jones, who owns The River Club resort in Simonga, appealed to Mukuba to clean up the Maramba River which is littered with debris, especially plastics and weeds.
He warned Mukuba of the presence of mosquitoes.
Phinius Munene wondered why the project could not commence in October so that youths could celebrate independence happily for finding employment.