The Arusha Times

Issue 00578

August 1 - 7, 2009

issn 0856 - 9135 

Front Page 2

MP says TanzaniteOne treatment of mine workers is ‘scandalous’

By Our Correspondent

Simanjiro’s MP Christopher ole Sendeka has claimed in parliament in Dodoma last weekend that workers of TanzaniteOne in Mererani, Simanjiro District  are being treated   inhumanly.

Debating the Ministry of Enegy  and Minerals  budget estimates Ole Sendeka said, in clear terms, that  there  was enormous harassment of workers at the Mererani based mine.

He cited stripping and exposure complaints as cases in point.

The MP said by subjecting local workers to undue harassment and demeaning work conditions, the mine’s managers were in fact practicing racism.

“The Tanzanian workers in question at the Mererani mining plant are the victims of untold treatment and discrimination by their foreign bosses,” he added.

According to the MP, the local workers were routinely forced to go through the de-humanising process of stripping  half-naked as part of security measures seeking to prevent the smuggling of gemstones from the premises.

“I have been receiving complaints from workers saying that they are on a daily basis required to pass through X-ray machines half-naked ready to be screened lest they steal tanzanite gems,” he told the  House.

He added that, apart from the humiliation, the workers were routinely exposed to possible health hazards from the alleged daily doses of radiation.

“Up to 30 workers at a time are asked to strip naked and pass through a scanner. They are then given a pair of shorts each, the only things they cover themselves with,’’ explained the MP, calling for the House to act on the said scandal.

The government has meanwhile  directed TanzaniteOne to stop inspecting its employees with a scanner allegedly releasing rays that put their lives at serious risk.

Energy and Minerals deputy minister Adam Malima issued the order when winding up debate on his ministry’s budget estimates for financial year 2009/10, according to the Guardian.
 

He said he had accompanied the parliamentary Energy and Minerals committee and observed the hardships, mockery and humiliation employees were subjected to as they were forced to pass through the machine half-naked.

“This is not our way of living and it is not Tanzanian tradition to force the elderly to strip in public as they ready themselves for inspection (at workplaces),” noted the deputy minister.

He said the investor forced employees to go through the scanner despite complaints that the rays it generated were adversely affecting the health of the people working in the mine.

“We pondered over the matter and the government has agreed to form a commission to investigate all complaints and charges,” said Malima, adding: “It is true there are problems at TanzaniteOne which we need to work on.”

The House approved 226.9bn/- budget for the ministry’s recurrent and development expenditure yesterday evening.

A recent Press Release from TanzaniteOne  says that there  had been speculative press reports attributed to unnamed media and so-called TanzaniteOne employees, alleging that through the use of X-ray body scanners, TanzaniteOne Mining Limited has been exposing its employees to radiation dosage beyond permissible levels.

The release further says the Management of TanzaniteOne Mining Ltd, categorically denies such violation of legal and regulatory requirements.

It dismisses those allegations as being malicious and smear propaganda campaign being waged by the theft syndicates who find the x-ray body scanners as major hindrance to their illegal activities. In their desperate attempts to sustain their illegal activities, they are now trying to politicize the issues revolving around safe use of X-ray body scanners.

 

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