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Govt should lead by example – miners


Government-owned mining companies have been challenged to be exemplary by implementing visible corporate social responsibility programmes so communities benefit from their natural resources.

This was said yesterday by Mutuso Dhliwayo Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association director at a workshop for the African Initiative on Mining, Environment and Society.

“Governments should set very high standards when it comes to corporate social responsibility programmes so that other companies can follow what it has done,” said Dhliwayo.

“In Zimbabwe, when the government talks about corporate social responsibility programmes by mining companies, it talks about them as if they only relate to foreign-owned companies and yet we also have indigenous companies who also own mines and they are doing nothing about corporate social responsibility,” said Dhliwayo.

Dhliwayo’s statement comes in the wake of allegations that mining companies are merely milking the country’s resources without ploughing back to communities.

An expert from Uganda’s Civil Response on Environmental Development, Twesigye Bashir, echoed the sentiments.

“State-owned mines should follow the same rules on corporate social responsibility. This should not be a voluntary thing and there should be regulations to compel them to follow certain standards for the benefit of communities,” he said. The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) said a lot of mining business operations confused corporate social responsibility with philanthropy or handouts to communities.

“Corporate social responsibility is not about cash or in-kind donations that do not change the lives of the people or community. It should instead result in projects that change and develop communities such as irrigation schemes, schools, clinics, hospitals and income-generating activities such as small-scale mining,” Zela said in their policy and legal handbook.

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