GOVERNMENT on Tuesday summoned five Mutoko black granite mining companies and ordered them to comply with government’s indigenisation laws by contributing to the community share ownership scheme or risk termination of their contracts.
by Jairos Saunyama
This came after government has been facing massive resistance from the black granite miners in Mutoko who were snubbing the scheme which was officially launched by President Robert Mugabe a few years ago.
On Tuesday, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Joel Biggie Matiza met the mining companies’ representatives for them to start making financial contributions to the scheme by May 15 this year or risk being booted out of the province.
“You have been mining granite since 1972 and nothing has been done to develop the community. You have to contribute towards the scheme and we are not in a position to hear your pleas that there is no business these days. Find a way to pay the needed money. If there is no business, close shop,” Matiza said.
“Some of the companies are saying they have been making roads or drilling boreholes, which is social responsibility and is different from the CSOT (Community Share Ownership Trust) scheme. You need to be focused on the issue and do what it demands. By mid-May all of you should have deposited your pledged money into the trust account.”
Matiza later toured Natural Stone Mine where he told villagers living near the mine that the company should deposit money for the development of their community.
Speaking during the meeting, Edward Muvuro, spokesperson of Dimension Stone Producers’ Association, a group that represents granite miners in Mutoko, said the companies were willing to deposit some money into the trust account by the due date.
“We support 100% the indigenisation and empowerment exercise and we promise to honour our pledges. We have been giving back to the community and participating in the CSOT scheme. Some of the companies have contributed monies towards the launch of this scheme,” Muvuro said.
The companies include Natural Stone, CRG, Zimbabwe International Quarry Enterprises and Ilford Red.
Mutoko District’s CSOT is expected to receive $10 million by mid-May if all the five companies honour their pledges.