By Staff Reporter
MINES minister Richard Musukwa says he cannot resign from his post because the cause of the fatal accident at Kitwe’s Nkana copper slag dump “is non-coordination in terms of compliance with the machinery and the human capital.”
The Nkana copper slag dump, commonly known as Black Mountain, caved-in on small-scale miners on Wednesday morning, killing 10 of them straight away.
Some sections of society have called for the minister’s resignation.
Musukwa, in his ministerial statement in Parliament thursday, noted that activities of criminals and scavengers could not make him resign.
Lukulu East UPND member of parliament Dr Christopher Kalila, in a follow-up question, asked whether or not Musukwa was implying that those who died “in pursuit of genuine livelihoods” were criminals and scavengers.
Musukwa then responded.
“I have just received from my learned colleagues the definition for scavengers. I would like to read in brief – a person who searches for and collects discarded items. I have said this accident is as a result of non-compliance by the people who have been operating on this site. Mr Speaker, we will not shy away to state that this process was being undertaken by illegal people and if our friend, the Honourable Dr [Kalila], would like us to shy away from that fact, we will not because this is the circumstance in which we have found ourselves in,” Musukwa noted.
“As I have stated, it cannot be a basis for my resignation. Where we are is the time to rebuild from where we have fallen and ensure that mother Zambia and the people of Zambia and Kitwe in particular who voted for the PF to get the benefit of this government by ensuring that deliberately, Zambians must participate in the exploitation of our resources in a safe and well structured manner.”
Kalabo Central UPND member of parliament Chinga Miyutu asked if there weren’t sufficient signals to foretell the Black Mountain calamity.
Musukwa, in his response, said: “I would like to thank the Honourable for that question.
Like I stated earlier, first of all, we had an incident where we had a blast which happened and because of the incident of the blast which happened, the mine safety, working together with the seven programmes, instituted a programme to ensure that all dangerous overhanging walls were brought down. And referring to the video clip which the Honourable member of parliament is referring to, you must realise that at that point machinery was taken on top in order to ensure that they bring down the wall because we had not authorised any blast. You will note in the video that was circulating that all the vehicles, trucks and people were all lined up in one area when the process was being undertaken. In short, that was a supervised exercise which was meant to down the walls which were creating a safety hazard. So, this accident, in particular, happened as a result of non-coordination in terms of compliance with the machinery and the human capital.”