Government has dismissed allegations that it was turning a blind eye to the abuse of workers by foreign companies and businesspeople, saying the country’s labour laws apply to everyone regardless of nationality or race.
Responding to media queries on what action the Government would prefer against a Chinese businessman who allegedly shot and injured two of his employees in the Midlands following a labour dispute early this week, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said the matter will be handled by the country’s justice system just like any other criminal case.
Minister Mutsvangwa said labour abuse was not peculiar to Zimbabwe, but a universal problem.
While Zimbabwe welcomed foreign investors in line with the Second Republic’s mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”, the Government was colour blind when it came to enforcing the law.
“Criminal activities should be dealt with as such and not on the basis of race. The seamless nature of capital chimes with the non-racial national tenets of Zimbabwe.
“We approach labour issues in Zimbabwe along the similar lines. Our labour laws apply to each and every employer and worker. We never invoke origin of nationality in their application,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“That is why the Chinese Embassy had the confidence to implore Zimbabwe to handle the Midlands gold mine shooting as an ordinary crime. Any incidental malfeasance in the employee-employer domain has absolutely no bearing in our sound bilateral relations with any nation, be it China, USA, UK or South Africa among all others.”
A 41-year old Chinese gold miner, Zhang Xuelin, allegedly shot and injured 33-year-old Wendy Chikwaira and Kennedy Tachiona (39) at Reeden Mine near Gweru.
He has since been arrested and is facing attempted murder charges.
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF Youth league has condemned the shooting of Chikwaira and Tachiona following a wage dispute.
The party’s acting Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Tendai Chirau said the Youth League was deeply concerned by the disregard of existing dispute resolution mechanisms enshrined in Zimbabwe’s labour laws.
“The Zanu PF Youth League continues to stand with the toiling indigenes of Zimbabwe and we express our utter shock and dismay at the actions which not only threaten the peace, progress and stability that characterises the Second Republic, but actions which also risk being misinterpreted in the context of the bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and its all-weather friend China.
“We welcome in this regard the statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe wherein the Embassy said it would firmly support Zimbabwe’s law enforcement agencies to transparently and openly investigate and handle the case in accordance with the law of Zimbabwe.
“We vehemently condemn such callous acts that seek to destabilise the harmonious working relationships of people of all races,” said Cde Chirau.
Cde Chirau said the league would monitor the progress of the case.