FORMER Falcon Gold mine employees, who did not receive terminal benefits when the mine closed in 2013 and their families have been evicted from the mine houses in Chakari, Mashonaland West by the new owners, RioZim.

So far 10 families have been evicted out of the 60 families served with eviction notices.

About 80 families are still to be served with eviction notices.

But the former employees vowed to fight the eviction until they are paid their outstanding terminal benefits.

A Falcon Gold former employee, who is now blind, Matore Kazembe narrated his ordeal.

“I got blinded due to some chemicals while working underground for Falcon Gold,” Kazembe said.

“When our employer was forced out in 2013 and failed to pay us our terminal benefits, we agreed that we would remain in company houses until we were paid all outstanding dues.

“We are now surprised that new owners, RioZim, want us out of the houses before we get our terminal benefits.

“We can move out of the houses only when we have been paid our benefits …RioZim must own up.”

Ruth Banda, a widow, said she was surprised to receive an eviction notice following the death of her husband who worked for 27 years at the mine, but was not paid terminal benefits.

“Some ZRP officers accompanied by RioZim security officers armed with an eviction order, forcibly removed our property from the house. They broke some furniture in the process” said Phiri

Another former worker Forget Phiri said: “They will take my house over my dead body…they must give me my benefits first if they want the house.”

Chakari Member of Parliament Andrew Nkani yesterday met the affected families as part of his investigations into the evictions.

A RioZim official Blessed Chibanda said the houses in question now belonged to her company after taking over from Falcon Gold.

Former workers said the initial arrangement between the previous employer Falcon Gold, employees and RioZim was that they would remain in the houses until they were paid their terminal benefits.

They accused RioZim of refusing to honour the agreement.

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