Africa Moyo  Business Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has directed the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), which is set to start the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station, to employ Hwange residents so as to improve their living standards.

The call comes at a time when the Hwange community, particularly youths, are up in arms with local mining companies for employing people who are largely outside Matabeleland North province.

With over 7 000 jobs expected to be created in the Hwange power project, expectations in Hwange are high that unemployed youths will finally be considered. President Mnangagwa said: “In the area of jobs, I say to the company, to ZPC, please give priority to the local people.

“The requirement of limestone stone (in the project), which is locally available, will therefore create additional business and employment opportunities.

“My Government is optimistic that this project will result in a number of developmental projects for Hwange and the surrounding communities.” The expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station, which will see two additional generators being constructed to add a combined 600MW to the national grid, will use 12 000 tonnes of limestone per month during its operations. Limestone would be used in the project given that there will be a flue gas cleaning facility to treat emissions, in tandem with international best prices in environmental management.

“Early last month, unemployed Hwange youths fired salvoes at mining companies based in the area, accusing them of ‘deliberately’ denying them jobs, even for positions of cleaners which they claimed did not require special skills.”

This emerged during a district alternative mining indaba organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZimCodd).

One of the participants said he had given up hope of a getting job in their area since most of the firms had headquarters in Harare, where employees would be recruited.

“We can’t get jobs here. Mining companies bring their own people mainly from Harare.

“We are only left with coal dust and the gases emitted from power generation by the ZPC (Zimbabwe Power Company) while the mining companies take all the profits with them,” fumed one of the residents. Hwange has several companies such as the Government — owned Hwange Colliery Company Limited and ZPC, and also privately-owned firms such as Makomo Resources, Zambezi Gas, Coal Brick, Chilota Colliery, Liberation Mining and Mota Engil, which was contracted to mine coal by HCCL. Hwange Assistant District Administrator, Mrs Nyaradzo Masoja, told The Herald Business that they had been approached by chiefs complaining that locals were being side-lined by mining companies.

The DA’s office then engaged the companies last year and agreed that they should start recruiting locals, particularly for jobs that do not require skills that they may not have.

“So after the agreement with the miners, we are now at the stage of assessing if the miners are meeting their side of the bargain.

“But I am happy that we making headway because when ZPC flighted an advert for apprenticeship recently, it said people should send applications to Harare but after we raised our concerns, they then said they were going to give first preference to those from Hwange district,” said Mrs Masoja.  President Mnangagwa said his Government is determined to create “decent” jobs for citizens by 2030.

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