Stakeholders in the mining sector have called on government to allow the portfolio committee on mines and energy to play its oversight role if the country is to maximise earnings from the extractive industry.
Airing their views at a Multi-Stakeholders’ Conference on Extractive Industry (mining sector) in Harare last week, stakeholders said the committee had a pivotal role to play in promoting transparency and ensuring that communities benefited from mining, as well as combating illegal mining activities.
“We want the committee to be able to make investigations and also work with civic society,” said a participant.
During the question-and- answer session at the conference, Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire said the committee had an oversight role over the ministry and was allowed to call anyone in the country to appear before them to give evidence.
In the last parliamentary session, the mines committee was barred from entering Chiadzwa to complete their investigations into diamond mining in the area, which they wanted to use in Parliament.
“The committee can call upon anyone in Zimbabwe to give evidence before them,” said Chimanikire.
He said after the committee tables a report in Parliament, the Mines minister had seven days to respond to the report or give a ministerial statement in Parliament.
Edward Chindori-Chininga, the chairman of the mines and energy committee, said although the committee had an oversight role, the ministry of Mines and Mining Development had its own rules.
He said the committee could summon anyone in the country, except the President.
“The only person we do not call to committees is the President. The legislature is made up of the Senate, the House of Assembly, and the President,” said Chindori-Chininga.
Chininga said the President was part of the legislature by virtue of signing all laws promulgated in Parliament.
“Anyone else can be called by the committee to present evidence for the work they do. After we present our report to Parliament, it is debated in the House and the ministry takes that report so that they implement what has been recommended,” said Chindori-Chininga.
He said in the case of Chiadzwa, the committee managed to force administrators to correct certain mistakes despite showing arrogance in complying with its recommendations.
“In their arrogance they corrected certain mistakes, and we have seen investments made after that.
“So, we are putting pressure on institutions to do their work correctly,” he said.