Mines ministry takes over SMM

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President Robert Mugabe has directed the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to take over the running of Shabanie Mashaba Mines (SMM) as well as Gaths Mine in the Midlands Province.

This was revealed by the Mines deputy minister Gift Chimanikire during a question-and-answer session in Parliament yesterday.

Responding to a question from Mberengwa South MP Ellina Shirichena and Masvingo West MP Tachiona Mharadza, who wanted to know what the government was doing to revamp idle mines such as Buchwa Mine and whether the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) carried out a workers’ audit at Shabanie Mine meant the parastatal was taking over the firm.

Chimanikire revealed President Mugabe had directed the government to take over the running of SMM Holdings, given the long-standing dispute between the owner, business magnate Mutumwa Mawere, and Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa.

“We received a directive from the President and the directive was that we should take over the running of Shabanie Mashava Mine as well as Gaths Mine . . . After being given the directive, we approached ZMDC and gave them the mandate to ensure that the mine works,” Chimanikire said.

He said ZMDC was also working towards ensuring Buchwa Mine was operational again through establishing joint ventures.

Part of ZMDC’s mandate, Chimanikire said, was to carry out an audit at SMM Mine and ensure workers, who have gone for two years without salaries, are finally paid.

“Last week, they told us they had got money to pay all workers for three months and that they would be paid soon,” he said.

Zvishavane MP Obert Matshalaga said SMM workers had received empty promises over the last two years and wanted to know when the payments would be effected.

But, Chimanikire could only say “soon”.