STOP mocking us, KCM contractors and suppliers have told mines minister Richard Musukwa.And the contractors and suppliers say they knew that nothing will happen with the seven-day ultimatum which Musukwa gave KCM to pay all contractors and suppliers.
A week ago, Musukwa gave KCM seven days in which to pay all contractors and suppliers, some of whom have gone for seven months without pay. Musukwa had written to KCM giving the firm seven days in which it should pay all its contractors and suppliers. He said KCM’s business style was causing anxiety and anger in the mining sector and government would not allow the mine to frustrate stakeholders.
“As government we have a lot of bones to chew with KCM. You will be shocked why we have matters with KCM…[It] is because we think they are showing signs of not being available tomorrow and…eh things of non-availability, tomorrow is [because of their] failure to pay the suppliers. These contractors operate from borrowed money from the banks. So the banks can know that KCM has not paid but the interests keep coming. So by the time KCM pays, all the money is gone in interests to the banks,” said Musukwa.
KCM owes mine suppliers about US $160 million. But a contractor at KCM, Jordan Chiluba said to date no contractor had been paid despite the seven days elapsing.
“You see my brother, what I said last time on Saturday that we don’t attend meetings that are meaningless. The minister was just doing some public relations for his government and for him to keep his job. But look, today is Tuesday and the seven days has passed yet no contractors are paid. We hoped that after that seven days thing, we could start getting our money within that time… nothing; that is playing with our emotions. Others even start preparing that we are getting paid,” Chiluba complained.
“This is what happens when leaders don’t have the interest of the people. They can come and tell lies and go back. They don’t care, but we are not kids that we can be fed on lies. We know what to do next.”
Efforts to get KCM public relations manager Shapi Shachinda proved futile as he did not answer his phone.However, Chingola member of parliament Chali Chilombo said that KCM should pack and go.“It’s not a secret now that the people I represent and myself, the state they are in now, they will be very happy to see KCM go. Those words I cannot miss. We are not condemning them to the grave, but we want them to pull up their socks. It’s not a secret that the contractors every three months, they have to protest,” said Chilombo.