Govt rejects ex-minister’s pledge

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Simbaneuta Mudarikwa

GOVERNMENT has rejected the $2 500 monthly pledge offered by Natural Stones towards the Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe Community Share Ownership Scheme Trust (CSOT) saying the amount was too insignificant.

BY Jairos Saunyama

The black granite mining company which operates in Mutoko and Uzumba is reportedly co-owned by former Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Simbaneuta Mudarikwa.

The company had pledged to pay $2 500 per month over the next 30 years towards community developmental projects.

Addressing Zanu PF supporters at Mutawatawa growth point last week, Mudarikwa’s successor, Joel Biggie Matiza, said the government would negotiate a better deal with the mining company.

“The only company that has been loyal towards the Community Share Ownership Trust Scheme in this province is Larfarge, but we have many companies operating. One big company that we need to take to task is Natural Stones.

“The company pledged $1 million for the next 30 years, meaning to say that we will be getting about $2 500 per month, which is unacceptable given the time span and nature of operations at the company.

“We will negotiate a better deal, because in the next 30 years we will be all dead,” said Matiza.

Mudarikwa could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, villagers from Maramba and Pfungwe areas told Matiza that they were disturbed by reports that the scheme was only benefiting people from Uzumba district.

Matiza assured the villagers that he would ensure equitable distribution of resources.

“We cannot go to Uzumba and destroy the already established structures.This is just the beginning. We need development in the district and other projects will be done in Maramba and Pfungwe districts,” Matiza said.

Earlier on Matiza had addressed Zanu PF supporters in Wedza where he revealed that Imire Game Park had only deposited $2 000 as seed capital into the CSOT account.

“We are also being tough on Imire Game Park owners. They pledged $25 000 as seed capital, but they only deposited
$2 000 into the trust account. They promised to bring a payment plan towards the CSOT scheme, but we haven’t heard from them.

“As long as I am in the office, I will ensure they comply,” he said.

Government has been facing stiff resistance from companies operating in the province to contribute towards the scheme.