TRUSTEES of Community Share Ownership Trust Schemes (CSOTs) have been challenged to educate ordinary villagers and community members about their operations in order to promote transparency in the management of resources allotted for community development projects.
The call was made during a recent mining indaba held in Shurugwi.
The meeting was attended by MPs, CSOTs trustees from Zvishavane, Shurugwi, Mberengwa, Guruve, Mhondoro Ngezi, chiefs, local authorities and civic society groups.
The meeting also proposed a leadership code to prevent theft of trust resources.
“Development of a leadership code for CSOTs is necessary to ensure projects do not benefit leaders, especially some traditional leaders who had already benefited from other government programmes such as boreholes, cars, electricity and other services while the majority of people were yet to benefit,” read a report by the mining indaba.
“Management structures of CSOTs should reach out to and educate the ordinary villagers and community members who are the intended beneficiaries of the CSOTs about their operations, revenue use and distribution arrangements, projects being implemented and the attendant decision making processes.”
Some of the recommendations made during the mining indaba were that the government should ensure that all mining companies operating in the Great Dyke that had made commitments to establish and support CSOTs fulfilled their promises.
The recommendations came after recent exposés by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Development chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Wadyajena (Zanu PF) that money meant for CSOTs was being abused and that some mining companies were not committed to financing CSOTs projects.
“There is need to develop clear and actionable sustainable measures and procedures to guide CSOTs in designing investment projects that can ensure that some of the funds received by CSOTs are invested even in community led mining projects or other investment projects to enhance future economic viability of the whole programme.
“A fair and just quota system on distribution of revenues from CSOT activities should be developed to ensure that communities that live closest to the mining area and that are mostly affected by the negative impacts of mining derive a significant portion of the benefits, as compared to those that are not immediately affected, although this must be underpinned by the desire to ensure as far as possible the equitably distribution of national resources,” the report said.