A LOCAL civic group representing the interests of Mutoko residents has launched a campaign to lobby the international community to ban granite stone exports from Zimbabwe, citing alleged plunder of the resource by politicians and mining companies.
The Mutoko Community Forum (MCF) says local communities have not benefited much from the exploitation of the mineral resource despite it being a high exporter earner.
Speaking during a peace-building workshop organised by the Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation Trust in Harare last Friday, MCF secretary-general Abel Mavura said his organisation was lobbying the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and world leaders to consider an immediate ban of Zimbabwe’s expensive rock.
Black granite rakes in millions of dollars in export earnings mainly from South Africa, Australia, Belgium and other major markets.
Activists have, however, condemned the exploitation of the mineral that has left communities in the mining areas wallowing in poverty with environmental decay takes its toll.
“We are lobbying destinations or countries where the rock is exported. We will lobby trade unions such as Cosatu to push world leaders and trade unions from recognising Zimbabwe’s black granite,” Mavura said. “There is no fair distribution of wealth, remuneration for workers is exploitative, no safety regulations and the community continue to live in poverty.”
Recently, members of the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers’ Association were arrested for staging a protest march against negligence by mining companies operating in the area.
“It is difficult to engage the local authority because they are benefiting out of the system. We have tried to engage them, but we have failed. Politicians have been bribed,” he claimed.
Natural Stone Export Company is one of the companies that have been mining the precious stone in Mutoko since 19 72.