GOVERNMENT has tightened its screws on the issuance of copper trading licences to curb criminal activities involving the mineral.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Home Affairs ministry secretary Melusi Machiya yesterday told the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Peace and Security chaired by Zanu PF Mashonaland Central MP Damian Mumvuri that the government had reduced the number of licenced companies to five to ensure only credible companies were allowed to deal in copper.
“We recently intercepted a truckload of copper from Zambia and we have reduced the number of copper licences because there is criminality involved,” said Machiya.
“People can steal copper and burn it and during the burning process they can come up with something different and difficult to trace and that is why we have taken those precautions,” he said.
Machiya said copper had too many uses such as killing of insects and manufacturing of radiators and that was why people were interested in smuggling it.
“Companies like Zesa, TelOne and others who use copper have come up with off-cuts and we have said if there are too many off-cuts there is a problem and the process also requires licencing where reports are issued by the police, the Mines, Industry and Commerce ministries – to prove that the company is reputable and has not been involved in nefarious activities of smuggling of copper. Even if it is foundry, it must be registered with the appropriate ministry,” he said.
He said other countries like South Africa also had very stringent regulations on copper where there were amount restrictions, adding that the issue of copper was an international problem and was susceptible to transnational smuggling crimes.
“One would need authority to transform copper to anything else,” said Machiya.