GLORIA KANGWA writes
THERE was a near riot in Solwezi yesterday when a security firm, Safety Security Service Zambia stirred a hornet’s nest after it reportedly duped over 600 Solwezi residents with fake employment offers.
A mob of angry applicants stormed the local government district administration office (DMO) to seek explanation and vent out their frustrations.
The firm which trained officers in protection of facilities put out an advertisement offering job opportunities to applicants who it asked to pay K25 each.
The company which trained fully licensed, insured and bonded armed security officers got more than it bargained for after over 600 unemployed youths seeking greener pastures besieged the local Kikombe Secondary School to be recruited as per advertisement.
The applicants were promised to be deployed at Lumwana mine on completion of one month training which they undertook from April 1 to 29.
However it turned out that there were no such job offers at Lumwana and this angered the applicants who yesterday stormed the DMO to seek clarification on the matter.
One of the duped job seekers, Patrick Masheka said the company should refund them their money they spent on activities they did as required of them.
“These people called us themselves, told us to pay K25 for applications and assured they would employ us, made us buy folders, we took passport size photos, cut our hair every week.
“We even got beaten up when we reported late for training and some of us required transport money to and from our residences only to discover on Labour Day that other people had already been employed and our training was a scam and all in vain, no way.
“We have been fired at our former work places because of not reporting for work for one month. What this company needs to do is pay us for wasting our time for the whole of April. The company has made K15, 000 from the K25 each of us paid. Awee impiya shena baletupela abakashi besu tabatuleke,” he said.
Provincial company manager Mutelo Hakombela who was at the DAO told the group that he understood that Zambians needed employment but enlightened them that they were merely recruits with prospects to be employed.
“As a company we know that employment is needed, you people know that you were just recruits which does not mean you are employed,” he said.
District Administration Officer Anthony Fulwe in trying to calm the situation, blamed the company because it should have come out clear on the number of people it needed to employ from the first day.
Mr Fulwe however assured the job seekers that he would personally find out what was happening at the company and communicate to them once he had spoken to top management officials of the firm.
Present among the government officials that tried to cool off the mob’s anger was the Patriot Front provincial youth chairperson Aminon Hara who said youths were thirsty for work but that what the safety company did was unethical and disappointing.
“Looking at what has transpired today is very uncalled for from the management of the company because it is disappointing, I mean they recruited the people for them to be employed but not take them for granted and dupe them, it was against the law”, he said
Mr Hara said the province was growing and other companies would be investing too therefore the interest of the people was to be protected.
He further urged the youths to be calm as the matter was being followed up, adding that relevant authorities would be involved and ensure what was required be done.
“I would like to warn other companies that intend to bring business or employment opportunities here to put their houses in order and for the youths they should stay calm for when the relevant authorities are involved it will be a win-win situation for all,” he said.
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GLORIA KANGWA writes