“Transforming Women’s Lives through Economic Empowerment”
As we commemorate the International Women’s Day, it is imperative for us to acknowledge the fact that the plight of the women folk still cries out for redress. While we are pleased that in some areas of life, great steps have been made, in others a lot more still needs to be done, WLSA remains commitment to promote and protect the rights of women.
Amid the struggles women are confronted with, we are heartened by the resolve of a group of women in Hwange who stood eyeballs to eyeballs against a seemingly indomitable opposition. Yet to our astonishment they withstood a barrage of blows delivered on them. Read more
Harare; High Court on the 27th of February 2018 delivered judgement on the case of infringement of private property filed by Hwange Colliery Company against demonstrating spouses and widows of unpaid employees of the coal mining company. The women have been protesting outside the company premises for close to a month now.
Justice Makoni dismissed the case with costs. She stated that the applicant failed to sufficiently satisfy the court that the matter was urgent, therefore struck it off the urgent register and ruled that the case be on normal roll.
This ruling, which is good for the striking women, increases their resolve in seeking justice. The demonstration came as an attempt to compel Hwange Colliery Company to pay salaries, which have been outstanding for the past five years.
WLSA Zimbabwe welcomes the judgement and will continue its solidarity with women of Hwange in their quest for justice. “As WLSA Zimbabwe we are committed to make the law work for women and ensure women of Hwange receive what is due to them and their families,” says Dorcas Makaza-Kanyimo, WLSA Acting National Director.
We are disturbed that the company instead of showing remorse for its failure to pay its employees, it has chosen to resort to bulldozing these women who are desperately in need of ensuring a livelihood for their families, to court .
While we applaud these women for their resolute, we are hopeful that Hwange Colliery Company will act as a responsible corporate citizen.
What initially started as a pep talk among spouses and widows of Hwange Colliery Company over non-payment of salaries of their husbands has shaken the coal mining giant prompting it to seek relief through the courts. Not only did the women triumph over the company but they have outpaced their husbands, who have slavishly toiled for five years without remuneration.
In a case similar to that of shepherd boy David against the seemingly indomitable Goliath, spouses of the coal mining company, like David who slew Goliath with using a string shot, have used their collective power and resilience. The majority of them have no or little education, barely spoke the queen’s language let alone understand the legal jargon.
Yet ever since they took up the issue of non-payment of salaries to their bossom, they have been scoring one victory after another. They shook the company to its core forcing it to pay $200 twice for the month of February alone, something which their husbands have failed to do in five years.
Women organizing to confront the company has become a force to reckon with. They have contended with the company such that it yielded not only to make payments but to eventually seek intervention of the courts.
Starting with court application that was scheduled for hearing on the 15th of February 2017 at Bulawayo High Court and then finally in Harare at High Court on the 27th of February 2018, the women did not whimper. They held on to their convictions proving that they have become hardened withering whatever blows the company threw at them.
Justice Makoni ruling on Tuesday in which the coal mining giant lost its bid to put the case on urgent court business has emboldened the women. The women were even awarded costs.
With this victory the women have displayed the power of women building a collective agency. Their resolve give credence to the adage, hell hearth no fury like a woman enraged; there are no boundaries for women who are determined to achieve their goal. In this case the women of Hwange despite not being direct employees of the company, pushed their way through as affected family members.
Women and Law in Sothern Africa (WLSA) Zimbabwe in keeping to its mantra making the law work for women, are proud to have been in solidarity with the Hwange heroines. As an organization we are running a programme on gender justice and equality in which specific project on gender and extractives is being conducted around Zimbabwe.
Hwange is one of the project sites, in which some of the women demonstrating have been trained by WLSA and Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) on the gender impacts of extractives and the legal framework of natural resources in Zimbabwe.
The Hwange women have decided to use the law to their advantage and amplify their voices so as to be heard. As WLSA Zimbabwe we will continue providing legal support until the case reach its logical conclusion.
We believe it is through application of the law that women will be able to challenge gender inequalities and discriminatory socio-cultural practices.
Women and Law in Southern Africa Zimbabwe
16 Lawson Rd, Milton Park, Harare, Zimbabwe
+263 4 253 001-3/0775 708476/ 263 4 2928337
Follow us on twitter: @wlsazim and Women and Law in Southern Africa Zimbabwe on facebook.
\What is the purpose of act?
To protect victims of domestic violence and provide for long term measures of prevention of domestic violence.
To prevent domestic violence from occurring.
Who will benefit from the act?
All persons who are in a relationship:
A current, former wife or husband.
All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, adopted or step children
People living with the perpetrator of the violence, for example relatives or domestic workers
A girlfriend or boyfriend whether current or former. Read more