VP Mphoko warns defiant firms
VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko has warned that companies benefiting from the country’s natural resources risk losing their operating licences if they don’t plough back to local communities through the community share ownership trusts.
President Mugabe launched the trusts in 2012 to help transform communities in which mining companies operate.
VP Mphoko made the remarks as he distributed an additional 3 200 chicks to the Njube community in Bulawayo yesterday.
“As Government, we could be forced to invoke statutory instruments to force compliance by companies that are harvesting the country’s natural resources yet they are failing to remit part of their proceeds to the community share trusts. We have laws to deal with such companies that violate the standing regulations and operating licences may be withdrawn from those companies which do not want to co-operate,” he said.
“Timber logging and safari hunting operators must from now onwards comply with all provisions of the community ownership trusts and start empowering communities in and around their operating areas.”
The VP said the country was rich with natural resources and urged companies to complement Government efforts in addressing the issue of poverty that is affecting local communities.
“We have a number of blue-chip companies in the country that are exploiting high value natural resources but they have never bothered to plough back to the communities to help develop their areas,” he said.
VP Mphoko said he was aware of some companies that were dragging their feet on community share ownership trusts because they are engaging in underhand dealings with some Government officials and politicians.
“Those who are engaging in underhand dealings are actually disrespecting President Mugabe. Let me warn you that there is no minister or politician who can work against the President in his quest to empower people,” he said.
VP Mphoko said the on-going poultry programme was aimed at reducing poverty and bringing development to local communities.
He has donated more than 25 000 chicks to Bulawayo residents in recent weeks and the programme is expected to spread to the rest of the country.
The chicks are part of the poultry project the VP unveiled last month. The programme which is anchored on the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, seeks to empower communities through utilising local resources.
VP Mphoko will next Sunday donate another batch of chicks to residents in Mpopoma-Pelandaba constituency before rolling the programme to other provinces.
The chicks were sourced from c ommerc i a l farmer Mr Peter Cunningham who owns Maleme Farm in Matobo district.
VP Phelekezela Mphoko