The Hwange Colliery Company has dragged Police Commissioner-General Tandabantu Godwin Matanga to the High Court seeking an urgent order to force him to give orders to the police to eject people who have been protesting at the company’s premises in Hwange.
Wives of employees of the company besieged the company offices protesting that the coal mining firm pay their husbands their outstanding salaries. In the urgent chamber application for an interdict filed through its lawyers, Mawere Sibanda Commercial Lawyers on behalf of the company, Hwange cited Comm-Gen as the first respondent and Officer-in-Charge of Hwange Police Station as the second respondent. In the application, Hwange Colliery is seeking the court to force the police to evict the protestors.
“The applicant having sought the assistance of the police by engaging the second respondent who is in charge of the police station closest to the applicant’s main office. The second respondent having refused to intervene in the demonstrations therefore left the applicant with no other remedy except to approach this Honourable Court, as its business operations are being disrupted by the said demonstrators. The applicant accordingly hereby approaches the Honourable Court for urgent relief as set out in the draft herein,” read part of the chamber application.
The company said they want police bosses to discharge the functions of their office in terms of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) as the regulating authority by dispersing the “unlawful” gathering of demonstrators. The company wants the protestors to be prevented from disrupting coal mining activities.
According to the application, Hwange’s business activities at the main office have been disturbed since 29 January by a group of demonstrators purporting to be the the wives of the company’s employees.
“The demonstration by the said persons being illegal in that they are on the Applicant’s private property, although not employed by the Applicant and they have no permission for the court or from the Applicant, itself to be to be demonstrating on the Applicant’s private property,” read the application.
In his founding affidavit deposed together with the application, company secretary and legal representative Mr Allen Masiya said the company was also seeking an interdict against the demonstrators.
“The demonstrators did not have any court order or clearance for carrying out their protest. To make matters worse, because they are not the applicant’s employees, they did not have applicant’s permission to enter the premises. However, despite efforts of the applicant’s security personnel to deny the demonstrators access, the groups forcefully entered the premises and surrounded the applicant’s administration building. They began disrupting the day- to-day operations of the applicant, by singing, dancing and making threats against applicant’s managing director. To date, and as I depose this affidavit, the protestors are still stationed at the administrations building, with others scattered around the applicant’s premises,” he said.
The High Court is set to hear the case on Tuesday.
Wives of HCCL employees have been demanding that the coal mining company fulfils its pledge to pay them outstanding salaries, after agreeing to a scheme of arrangement last year. Hundreds of women camped at the management office in Hwange where they used tree branches to block management from entering the premises. Some of them have been sleeping at the premises as part of their demonstration. state media