By Scoop Reporter
OVER 100 Zambian workers who have been locked up by their Chinese superiors for over two months at Simona cement plant to prevent them from bringing the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) have been freed.
Lusaka City Mayor Miles Sampa yesterday said one of the workers sent a call for distress via text message and alerted authorities on what was happening and that he and his team went to their rescue.
Mr. Sampa says it was discovered that while Zambians were locked up for some time now without visiting their families, the Chinese always knocked off and reported for work the following day.
He says the Zambians were kept at the premises for months and also threatened that they would be dismissed if ever they left the place.
“Disturbing proven occurrences at the Chinese owned and managed Simona cement plant. This morning we got a text from a brave whistle blower a Zambian worker from the plant. Him and other over 100 Black workers have been held hostage inside the factory and not allowed to go home because they can bring back Corona virus. They have been threatened with getting fired if they ever left the plant.
“Our fact finding mission later in the afternoon proved that indeed it’s the factual position. Both the Zambian workers we spoke to and the Chinese supervisor we spoke to via a Zambian interpreter confirmed that COVID-19 is the reason they have not been allowed to go home for about eight weeks (two to three months),” Mr. Sampa said.
Mr. Sampa says he and his team ordered the Chinese to release all the workers who were held hostage immediately.
“We told the Chinese supervisor that this is slavery reloaded. Black Zambians did not originate the Corona Virus. It originated in China and first imported into Zambia via France. The Chinese management and executives in the meantime are allowed to go home every night and come back next morning.
“I ordered them to release the workers tonight and allow them to go and see their wives and children. Over 60 percent of labour workforce at this plant are from our City and the rest from Chongwe and Kafue Districts.
“I will cascade this anomaly to my ministers for further indulgence and reprimand if possible. Overwhelmed with this particular complaint of workers locked in for months by various Chinese owned companies,” he said.