Maputo — Mozambican Labour Minister Helena Taipo on Wednesday attacked “unethical” behaviour by some foreign workers in Mozambique.
Speaking in the southern town of Namaacha, at the opening of a meeting of the Coordinating Council of her Ministry, Taipo said “it is extremely important that foreign citizens who emigrate for work purposes should bring added value to the country, in catapulting increases in production and productivity, and hence the economic development of our country”.
Through the transfer of their knowledge and technology, such foreigners would eventually help ensure that Mozambique's natural resources are exploited by Mozambicans.
But she warned that insults and racism by foreign workers were not acceptable.
Nor was criminal behaviour, ranging from assault to the forgery of certificates.
Taipo said “we have witnessed a growing abuse of Mozambican hospitality by some foreign citizens admitted for work”. There had even been cases of foreign employers arriving in Mozambique and making remarks such as “I don't know why you lot became independent”.
One recent case was the remarks by the Portuguese sportsman Diamantino Miranda, who had been the coach for the Mozambican football club Costa do Sol. The government threw him out of the country after, when speaking with a journalist, he made insulting remarks such as “Everybody here is a thief. You're all a bunch of thieves. You and other reporters can be bought with a bowl of soup. This country is not serious”.
Miranda later claimed that he did not know his remarks had been taped. When the Ministry of Youth and Sport heard the tape, he was given 48 hours to leave the country.
At much the same time, the Labour Ministry had ordered the removal from his post of the financial manager of the Maputo Private Hospital, Zimbabwean citizen Gavin Tatenda Samaneka, who was accused of a hostile attitude to his Mozambican colleagues, and of paying wages late.
“The government reiterates that it does not allow Mozambicans to undergo such humiliation”, said Taipo. “Our laws, beginning with the Constitution of the Republic, are clear on this matter”.
She stressed that the Labour Law does not discriminate in terms of the origin or nationality of the citizens it affects, pointing out that the Labour inspectorate has, in recent months, suspended foreign workers employed illegally, who are of Asian, African, European and American origins.
Taipo also stressed the importance of extra-judicial solutions to labour disputes. The creation of the Labour Mediation and Arbitration Commission and the establishment of Mediation Centres in all provinces “has helped to reduce the number of cases channeled to the courts, and to solve conflicts in a friendly manner and by agreement”.
Since the mediation and arbitration system took effect in 2010 and up to June this year, 31,133 cases were received, said Taipo, and agreement by mediation was reached in 20,952 of them.
“Although this body is only three years old, it has made a noteworthy contribution in stabilizing labour relations”, she said.