Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the government was working on new legislation which would ensure all arrested gold panners were released as Zimbabweans cannot be tormented for extracting minerals in their own country.
By Our Chief Reporter
Kasukuwere was speaking at a stakeholders’ conference organised by the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) in Harare on Wednesday.
He said he would not sit back while young Zimbabweans were being incarcerated for benefiting from their own resources.
“I have met President Robert Mugabe and Mines minister (Obert Mpofu) and we have agreed on that. The minister of Justice (Patrick Chinamasa) is already working on finalising the legislature,” he said.
“How can we send our own people to prison for mining gold in their own country? If King Lobengula and Munhumutapa wore gold rings and bangles, why should we criminalise gold today and arrest our own people while we allow big companies to loot our minerals?”
Due to the high unemployment rate, most youths who turned into the lucrative gold panning industry found themselves in jails.
In May, Mpofu called for the legalisation of gold panning arguing panners contributed much to the country’s economy.