For the first time in three hears, three thousand Shabanie Mashaba Mines workers have received a month's salary, though not from their employer of record.
The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, which cooperates in joint ventures with South African and Chinese mining firms in the controversial Marange diamond field in the country's east, last week paid workers amounts from US$160 to US$3,000.
Managerial Employees Committee Chairman Percy Ngwenya said the state firm only paid salaries for December without indicating when it will pay the larger balance of more than US$15 million in outstanding wages.
The state entity wants to invest in the mining firm though Parliament is still investigating Shabanie Mashaba Mines curator Arafas Gwaradzimba for allegedly shifting US$2 million to the United Kingdom while the asbestos firm collapsed in recent years.
The company was seized from businessman Mutumwa Mawere several years ago after he was accused of illegally moving foreign currency offshore in 2004.
Ngwenya said the future looks bleak. “Salaries were paid at the right time as everyone was desperate for money and food but that is not enough,” he said.
Parliamentary mines committee member Moses Mare said lawmakers are worried about the financial condition of the mine after years in Gwaradzimba's hands.