For good reason the perception of Chinese exploitation of Africa is fast gaining momentum.
With 80% of Husab Mine’s general workers unable to afford decent housing, and living in shacks, while they ( Chinese) live in Swakopmund’s most luxurious suburbs, it is inevitable to question the sincerity of Chinese investments in Namibia.
Let the Chinese know that mining is not new to Namibia. It is particularly not new to the Erongo region either.
It is, thus, a well known fact that although there is room for improvement, workers at Rössing Uranium mine, for example, are well taken care of.
The trend set by Rössing Uranium since its inception in the mid 70s in respect of mine workers in general, is indeed commendable, and may justly be seen as the minimum standard set in terms of which mine workers should be paid.
What is remarkable is that Husab Uranium, presumably one of the largest uranium mines in the world, is unable to provide decent accommodation, alternatively subsidised accommodation, and in the further alternative, salaries that are on par with the standard set by Rössing Uranium to enable its employees affordable and proper accommodation.
Do Husab Mine make cross references about appropriate emolument scales within the mining sector before they simply dish out starvation wages to general workers?
Employee confidence, especially among general workers is very low, and the signals coming from government are not helpful either. Which brings us to the question: “Are these investors from the east sincere or are they economic saboteurs out to milk Namibia dry?
Mining is the lifeblood of our economy, and our people ought to be well remunerated for what this land gives to foreign investors. Allegations of underpayment of workers is a very serious concern and invites urgent intervention and vigorous prosecution of Husab Mine and its Chinese owners by government.
Namibia is not a dump yard where mine workers can simply be picked up from, and paid peanuts at the whim of employers.
That practice and perception should be stopped as a matter of urgency, failing which our people’s interests in Namibia and its natural resources would have been forsaken.