Over twenty(20) years ago,I once worked in the textile industry with my close friend who is now a Government lawyer,and we sometimes discuss about how, based on our experience there, we can directly or indirectly become the voice of the textile workers.
Chinese investors are bullies particularly those who originate from the Chinese province-Taiwan, they don’t only underpay workers but undermine their right to human dignity.
The plight of the Mpakeni Dam workers is not an exaggeration but a reality of what emaSwati are going through within the various textile factories in the country, some workers eventually fell sick without compensation.
One day,in my line of duty as a textile worker at Kitwear Matsapha, one woman was verbally abused and questioned why she was absent the previous day and the woman responded that she was sick, she had proof to substantiate the reason of her absence.
But the Chinese Supervisor who was struggling to speak English properly shouted on top of her voice saying;
“Everyday sicker, sicker no dyer”, meaning; “Everyday you claim to be sick why don’t you just die”.
Perhaps, it is worth mentioning that, I still remember what happened to the woman because I was very angry to see a Chinese abusing a fellow Liswati, the woman was visibly not well.
Therefore, the complaints involving the R3.5billion Mpakeni Dam workers should not be taken lightly, where Chinese are involved, then you must know workers rights are violated.
The media, government and all relevant stakeholders must monitor that project and ensure that labour laws are respected and workers are not underpaid.
Chinese are brilliant when it comes to such projects but, they must not come here and turn emaSwati into their slaves, this “nonsense” of concluding that emaSwati are cheap labourers must stop.
It should be noted that, we are talking about a project here worth over R3.5billion, this project must first change the lives of the workers through decent salaries even before it generate power for the entire country.
This is a very important project that will enhance the economy and contribute to social development of eSwatini, we have a valid reason to support it in many ways.
But, we cannot keep quiet while Chinese are exploiting fellow emaSwati, workers must be paid what is due to them and, in accordance with labour laws governing the construction industry.
In conclusion, let me state that I was happy to chat to Samson Sithole, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of the Eswatini Agricultural and Development Enterprise(ESWADE) on Friday evening,he promised to mediate between the Chinese and workers.
This is a national project,we want to see it completed because it will benefit the entire country directly or indirectly, let’s ensure that workers who are working towards ensuring that the national dream becomes a reality, are paid what is due to them.
OPINION:Chinese R3.5billon Mpakeni Dam Directors stop underpaying workers, ESWADE must mediate and ensure that these bullies respect labour laws.