HomeLocal NewsChiadzwa villagers relocated

Chiadzwa villagers relocated

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MUTARE — Over 500 families from the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields in Manicaland have been relocated to Arda Transau Relocation Village about 24km from Mutare.

The villagers moved into the three-bedroomed houses, mostly built by a private construction firm at a whopping $55 000 per unit.

Those displaced by Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds operations have also been given access to solar energy.

But those displaced by China’s Anjin Investments do not have the privilege although they have access to running water.

Officials from the three diamond firms which have joint partnerships with a government-owned company, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), said more land was needed to resettle hundreds more families still at Chiadzwa.

To date Marange Resources has relocated 42 families, Mbada Diamonds (100) while Anjin (474).

Families relocated so far were given a once-off disturbance allowance of $1 000 although some said they had been promised at least $15 000, a figure officials disputed.

The villagers are being assisted with food rations until they start harvesting.

Marange Resources human resources executive Elimon Shumba told journalists on a ZMDC-organised media tour that although they initially faced resistance from affected families, they had since managed to overcome the storm.

“The resistance faded off after families that did not want to be moved saw that their counterparts were housed in beautiful homesteads,” Shumba said.

Shumba said they aimed to build 200 more homesteads by end of the year and currently 60 houses were ready for occupation.

Mbada Diamonds’ media consultant Ignatius Mazura said 100 households had been relocated by the company and 10 boreholes were drilled.

“We are supposed to relocate between 600 and 700 families, but to date only 100 households have moved in” Mazura said.

Romeo Mutsvungama, an Anjin representative, said they had relocated 474 households, accounting for 95% of people displaced by their operations.

Mutsvangama said instead of giving villagers solar panels they had set up a water purification plant to avert waterborne diseases.

“In the long run, the plant will be handed over to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and a fee could be charged” he said.

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