MORE than 200 youths, who paid K150, 000 to be employed at Kantobo Mine in Kapiri Mposhi have come back and vowed never to go back to the mine because they were subjected to a lot of hard work, hunger, lack of clean drinking water and had not been paid anything.
The 200 youths were part of the youths who paid K150,000 to a named pastor who promised that they would be employed at a new mine called Kantobo mine in Kapiri Mposhi District.
The same youths on September 1, 2012 blocked the road at Wusakile roundabout and protested that the pastor had swindled them because he was not giving them employment as he had promised.
The youths, who were found at the District Commissioners office in Kitwe, told the Daily Nation that they had decided to come back because they had suffered a lot during the period they had worked in the area.
Speaking on behalf of the others, Lawrence Kanyanta said when they arrived at the purported mine on August 22, 2012, they were told to start cutting trees, making the road using the hoes and shovels and only used to have one meal per day which was a small rump of Nshima in a cup and a table spoon of beans.
Kanyanta said they tried to persevere and endure because they were promised that they would be getting K2.8million per month, but they could not manage because they were just being used without being paid.
He said, it was after realising that there was nothing good coming up at the mine, that they decided to sell some of their clothes, cellphones to raise money to come back to Kitwe.
The youth narrated that when they arrived at the mine, they were assigned to cut tree and make access roads to the prospective mine. They had one meal a day made up of a cup of Nsima with beans
“We were very determined to work because we were promised a salary of K2.8million but we never got this money and the people who were supposed to pay us were never seen, so we ended up selling our clothes, cell phones and other belongings to find money for food and transport.” He said.
“We have suffered very much big man. We were among the first groups that went to the mine.” He said.
Another youth, Steward Kabwe said they when they arrived at the mine, they found that there were already 500 youths in the area who were working and had told them that they would not cope with the hard work, the hunger and lack of clean water.
Kabwe said they used to walk for three hours from Chief Ngabwe’s palace where they were sleeping to the purported mine and by the time, they reached the working place, they were already tired.
He said, apart from walking long distance from the palace to the mine, the working place had no clean drinking water and were forced to drink water from a stream where animals were drinking from.
“When we reached the mine, we were told it is not Kantobo mine, but it was Chief Ngabwe’s mine. The purported mine is located near Chief Ngabwe’s palace and so we used to sleep at the palace. We were taking eight hours to walk from the palace to the mine.
“The place is very far in the bush and it has no clean drinking water. We used to drink water from a stream where animals were drinking from,” Mr Kabwe said.
Mr Kabwe appealed to the government to help them get the money they worked for at Kantobo mine because they were no longer interested in going back to the mine.
He said more youths were planning to come back from Kantobo mine because of the hardships they were going through in the bush which was claiming to be a mine.
“Ba mudala, teifwe fweka tweba bwelako. Nabambi baleisa abanensu umulandu wabuchushi balepitamo meaning we are not the only ones who have come back from that mine, even other colleagues of ours are planning to come back because things are just hard in that place.
“We wasted out time going to that place and so we are appealing to government to help us get the money we worked for at the mine. We did a lot of hard work,” He said.