By Alois Vinga
NORTON legislator Temba Mliswa has slammed officials at Sunny Yi Feng Tiles Zimbabwe for misrepresenting a number of facts on the nature of their investment and abuse of the national project status among other allegations.
In a letter written by Mliswa dated July 22 2021 seen by NewZimbabwe.com, Thursday, Chinese officials at the company were accused of falsifying details when applying for work permits.
“Chinese workers obtain work permits under false pretense as they lie that they are coming in as specialist services or are engineers. However, this is not the case on site as approximately 200 Chinese nationals at Sunny Yi Feng Tiles in Zimbabwe are predominantly employed as security guards, cooks, cleaners and drivers who occupy employment positions such as accountants,” Mliswa wrote said.
The remarks come shortly after both the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Labour Ministry paid joint visits to the company where they condemned labour rights violations.
The vocal legislator who represents the area under which the tile manufacturer operates concurred with the initial assessments underscoring that such low level jobs must instead be reserved for desperate locals of Zimbabwean origin.
“Where specialist services are indeed required a timeline for skills transfer should be clearly defined. Foreign investment should enhance local job creation. Norton is yet to experience the job creation impact expected of the construction of the Tile factory,” he said.
Mliswa said he had received numerous reports of workers at the tiles manufacturer being subjected to appalling sub-standard living conditions, twelve hour working shifts with just one paltry meal per shift.
He challenged the Chinese company to conduct business in line with the Asian nation’s top employment standards values.
“We need to ensure that if your claim to be at par with international standards is averred, that we verily see those such standards prevail at the plant and across the board. You continue to ignore and neglect the Environmental Impact Assessment posing a real long term threat.
“The absence of an emission plan means that pollutants such as air, noise cannot be ascertained,” he said.
The Norton legislator criticised the company for paying Development Tax which is not commensurate with the declared investment amid calls for this anomaly to be regularised with Chegutu Rural District Council as a matter of urgency.
“Chief Chivero was physically assaulted on your premises by a former Chinese member of your staff. The matter is yet to be addressed. While the person who committed the crime was removed from the country by yourselves and it being an incident which may have occurred before your tenure. It remains critical that you understand that the matter still stands against your company,” Mliswa said.
He reminded Sunny Yi Feng Tiles to fulfill the promises made when the company was conferred with National Status which has allowed the company to enjoy tax exemptions among other benefits despite not ploughing back to the community.