No to pledges with­out ac­tion, Mushohwe tells di­a­mond firm

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Lloyd Gumbo in CHI­ADZWA

THE new Gov­ern­ment-owned di­a­mond min­ing com­pany in Marange must bring de­vel­op­ment to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and take re­spon­si­bil­ity of the pledges that were made by the com­pa­nies whose grants were not re­newed by Gov­ern­ment.

In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices Min­is­ter Dr Christo­pher Mushohwe said this dur­ing a tour of Chi­adzwa di­a­mond fields by the Par­lia­men­tary Por­fo­lio com­mit­tee on Mines and En­ergy, yes­ter­day.

The Zim­babwe En­vi­ron­men­tal Law As­so­ci­a­tion spon­sored the tour of the com­mit­tee that is chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Masvingo Ur­ban, Cde Daniel Shumba.

The Zim­babwe Con­sol­i­dated Di­a­mond Com­pany (ZCDC), a wholly Gov­ern­ment-owned com­pany is in charge of op­er­a­tions in Chi­adzwa af­ter Gov­ern­ment did not re­new the min­ing li­cences for the com­pa­nies that were min­ing in Marange and Chi­man­i­mani.

Min­is­ter Mushohwe, who is the Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Mutare West, said the Marange com­mu­nity had noth­ing to show for the min­ing that has been hap­pen­ing in the area for the past 10 years.

“When com­pa­nies started min­ing here, peo­ple in this area ex­pected a lot be­cause of the prom­ises that were made,” said Dr Mushohwe.

“We ex­pected that they would con­struct roads, build clin­ics and schools. But since the min­ing started, there is not even one class­room block that they have con­structed.

“In fact, there was a pri­mary school that was closed, and pupils there in Grade Zero and Grade One walk for about six kilo­me­tres to the near­est school.”

Dr Mushohwe said the com­mu­nity was no longer in­ter­ested in pledges with­out ac­tion.

He said fam­i­lies that were yet to be re­lo­cated from Marange had no source of liveli­hood as their fields had been in­cor­po­rated into the min­ing fields.

The min­is­ter said it was dis­ap­point­ing that the Zimunya-Marange Com­mu­nity Share Own­er­ship Trust had not ma­te­ri­alised, de­spite the pledge that was made by the com­pa­nies.

He said what was most dis­turb­ing was that the com­pa­nies that had re­neged on the Com­mu­nity Share Own­er­ship Trust were quick to drag Gov­ern­ment to court af­ter it did not re­new their grants.

“We are happy that Gov­ern­ment took the de­ci­sion not to re­new the other mines’ grants, but we want the new com­pany to prove that they are a Zim­bab­wean-owned com­pany that cares for its peo­ple.

“My plea to ZMDC is, please start with clin­ics in this area as a mat­ter of ur­gency. At the mo­ment, peo­ple who are still in Marange are just in­hal­ing dust from the min­ing op­er­a­tions, yet they have no clinic to go to for med­i­cal at­ten­tion when they get sick from the dust.

“What is im­por­tant now is for ZCDC to help fam­i­lies in Marange area re­gard­less of pro­duc­tion be­cause these peo­ple have no source of liveli­hood. They have suf­fered enough. We are no longer in­ter­ested in prom­ises that are never ful­filled,” said Dr Mushohwe.

He said it was im­por­tant for ZCDC to set­tle out­stand­ing salaries of all the em­ploy­ees who were af­fected by the new struc­ture.

Dr Mushohwe said the ma­jor­ity of them had gone for months with­out salaries well be­fore the com­pa­nies were kicked out of the min­ing fields.

“We hope that you will not claim that you are not the ones who owe these em­ploy­ees who had not been paid be­fore the com­pa­nies ceased op­er­a­tions.

“Be­sides, Gov­ern­ment al­ready had 50 per­cent in all the other com­pa­nies, so the li­a­bil­ity is also on the new com­pany. You should take re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said Dr Mushohwe.

He also called on the new com­pany to em­ploy more qual­i­fied lo­cals so that they can ben­e­fit.

In his re­marks, ZCDC act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Dr Ridge Nyashanu, said they looked for­ward to bet­ter for­tunes that would al­low them to plough back to the com­mu­nity.

“As the com­pa­nies were min­ing,. some of them man­aged to ma­noeu­vre around the fam­i­lies. So the vi­sion for ZCDC, our ini­tial plan is to get cap­i­tal to re­lo­cate the fam­i­lies and also do some of the CSR ac­tiv­i­ties within the com­mu­ni­ties,” said Dr Nyashanu.

He said 49,7 per­cent of their stuff were lo­cals while they also bought of the prod­ucts such as veg­eta­bles from the com­mu­nity.

Dr Nyashanu said ZCDC had so far re­lo­cated 23 fam­i­lies to arda Transau where they got a hectare of land, a three-bed­roomed house and dis­tur­bance al­lowances to 18 of the fam­i­lies.

He said they also bud­get cap­i­tal for cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity projects in the com­mu­nity.

Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment per­ma­nent sec­re­tary, Pro­fes­sor Fran­cis Gudyanga and other Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials at­tended the tour.

Dr Mushohwe

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