CIVIL society organisations have implored the government to disband the recently-formed Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) over its glaring failure to increase production and run Marange diamonds transparently.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Francis Gudyanga and ZCDC acting chief executive officer Ridge Nyashanu appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy, where they painted a gloomy picture over the sustenance of firm.
It also emerged that the company was seriously underperforming and the entire executive was fired as the new set of problems hound the firm established after government unilaterally cancelled mining licences in Chiadzwa.
Center for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu said ZCDC must be disbanded and urged the country to go for a tender system.
“Gudyanga continued with the same culture of secrecy laid down by his predecessor which was originally established by De Beers. It’s only that Gudyanga is worse in that he appear to be a one man show,” Maguwu said in reference to reports that the permanent secretary chairs various mining boards.
“They must disband ZCDC and return to the tender system. This is a national resource and the parliamentary portfolio committee on mines must be involved. Above all, Gudyanga must be thoroughly investigated and possibly jailed if he is found to have broken the law.”
Gudyanga told Parliament that ZCDC was registered as a private company under the Companies Act and there was no Act of Parliament to guide its operations like all parastatals and state owned enterprises.
Centre for Research and Development director James Mupfumi said due diligence was not followed on setting up ZCDC.
“ZCDC entrance into the diamond sector was opaque from the beginning. Mines ministry avoided due diligence processes including parliamentary oversight in the constitution of ZCDC board,” Mupfumi said.
“It is evidently clear that government has failed to run public enterprises because of corruption and cronyism. ZCDC is no exception and until there is political will to transform these institutions of governance that have been personalised, Zimbabweans will continue to live in abject poverty whilst their resources are being plundered by a chosen few,” he said.
Some Mines ministry officials yesterday joined the civil society organisations in calling for order in the diamond sector.
An official who refused to be named said officials at ZCDC did not feel the responsibility bestowed on them by the government.
“I don’t think people at ZCDC understand the intensity of the current crisis. We need money and our ministry is being blamed. We are beginning to smell a rat. The nation is burning and we need money from diamonds to save the economy from further collapsing. They should prove that ZCDC is more organised than former mining companies, but it seems they are failing,” a Finance ministry official said.
The Finance ministry official added the problem was not restricted to Marange alone: “What is the difference between what De Beers did and what’s happening in Zvishavane? (Murowa). It is not indigenised and was sold for a song. An MP from there John Holder has been crying out loud and blowing the whistle in Parliament, but the Mines ministry take months, saying we are investigating, but there is no closure. The nation is burning and we need money from diamonds.”
Another Mines ministry official said. “We risk humiliating President Robert Mugabe who entrusted us into these positions and make sure we implement his vision. At this rate it’s just a joke and as you heard the figures in Parliament we are taking the nation for a ride.”
“We need to explore all the challenges and look for a hybrid arrangement with the previous miners. We all know they were all not bad apples and some actually sustained the government during their mining period,” a Mines ministry official said.
“We need to tap in the skills and experience and work as a team for the national good. It’s chaotic, Patrick Chinamasa needs money, we need to avert the cash crisis, our dates for salaries are being changed and MPs are right that this industry should provide the answers.”