Diamond workers staying in squalid conditions

The houses made of timber accommodating ZCDC workers in Chimanimani 

By Cosmas Sunguro

The workers of Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in Manicaland are living in squalid conditions with the sight of most housing blocks not positively portraying   the company’s profile.

ZCDC, a diamond mining company is well known for splashing money to entice the admirers into believing that it’s the best mining company to come out of Zimbabwe. Amidst the disgruntlement is the allegation that the company funded  30  participants from Zimbabwe to attend the 15th Session of the Kimberly Process plenary meeting in Brussels Belgium.

The meeting commenced on the 12th and will run until the 16th of November 2018. According to Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG)’s Director, Mr Farai Maguwu the company paid for at least 30 people to attend the meeting with the money spent hovering around USD$100 000.According to him, this exposes the company’s misplaced priorities comparing this with the level of poverty amongst the workers and surrounding communities.

The Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied workers Union (ZIDAWU) is dismayed that the company continues to pay lip service when it comes to workers’ issues. A recent visit to the company’s residential area exposed a gloomy picture on the workers’ living premises. Those workers living in Chimanimani premises are living in cabins made of timber. The ventilation leaves a lot to be desired as well. Most residents live in fear as they were made to sign forms declaring that they will not divulge any information about their sorry condition.

The workers are not allowed to live with their spouses. Recently, there was a case of two workers who were found in a ladies toilet enjoying the forbidden fruit and were summarily dismissed. Although their action cannot be condoned, there could be other reasons for their behaviour. Both female and male workers are virtually camped in the same yard. The residential area is becoming smaller considering the ever increasing number of workers.

ZCDC inherited the residential compound built by Diamond Mining Company (DMC) before the Government decided to consolidate the six Chiadzwa diamond mining companies in 2016. The situation at ZCDC is a ticking time bomb and   the company needs to move swiftly to address the situation. This must be a priority considering that the workers are the drivers of the much hyped increase in the million carats in diamond production.

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