Kayelekera most senior Malawian staff resigns

Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga has lost its most senior Malawian staff, Human Resources Superintendent Dickens Chaula following allegations that he refused to report for duties soon after his father’s burial when he was ordered by miner Paladin to bring the death certificate, Nyasa Times has learnt.

Chaula, who resigned on 28th January 2012 after refusing to go through a disciplinary for insubordination, is said to be preparing legal action for “constructive dismissal” from his post  which he has heldt from January 2010.

He claims to have been humiliated by the uranium miner, when he was escorted off the mine to Lilongwe like a thief by security guards.

Paladin Africa confirmed Chaula’s leaving when contacted by Nyasa Times.

Kayelekera uranium site

“Mr Chaula resigned for personal reasons,” said Greg Walker, General Manager for the miner’s International Affairs.

Chaula, formerly Human Resources Manager at Illovo, becomes a third senior officer to have resigned or fired by Kayelekera since September 2010.

He was accused by the Malawian workers for siding with the white dominated management to block the formation of a trade union after Malawi Congress of Trade Unions representative Francis Antonio’s visit, and introduction of punitive conditions for the locals.

The conditions have worsened of late with the South African Human Resources Manager with little knowledge of Malawian labour laws idemanding death certificates from staff whenever they have gone to attend funerals of relatives.

A female assistant buyer also was told to produce a death certificate while another buyer Joseph Chinkhandwe was fired in November 2011 for refusing to produce medical records for his son he attended to while admitted at Karonga Hospital.

Minister of Labour Lucius Kanyumba recently praised Paladin Africa when he visited the mine without discussing anything with the local Malawian workers despite being aware of several labour related cases involving Paladin lodged at the Industrial Relations Court and Karonga Labour Office.

Local staff at the mine complains that Paladin management lied to Kanyumba that they desire to appoint Malawians in top positions saying ‘that sort of talk is bollocks’.

“Paladin management do not want any Malawians in top positions as this would disturb their underhand tricks which they do with the immigration department in getting people with no work permit to work at the mine.

“People with no meaningful qualifications get Temporary Employment Permit to do jobs which local expertise is readily available. So all this talk is just loads of bull****,” said a local employee who we cannot name to protect his job.

Chaula had deputised three HR Managers and even applied for the vacancy but was never picked. Stacy Luhanga was Chief Chemist and was forced out in October 2010.  Major James Nyirenda was heading security and has since been demoted with a white Australian bossing him.

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