‘Minerals Amendment Bill gives Mines secretary too much power’

The government should revisit the Minerals Amendment Bill, which concentrates power on the Mines ministry permanent secretary without addressing concerns of communities, director of Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), Farai Maguwu has said.

BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA

Maguwu told NewsDay on the side-lines of a CNRG workshop in Harare recently that it was essential for the government to enact policies that benefit communities, where mining activities take place.

“We need an overhaul of the Mines and Minerals Act. But I am disappointed that even the Minerals Amendment Bill that has been drafted by the permanent secretary is very corrupt in that it still retains a lot of power in him,” he said.

Maguwu said the Bill was a “heap of trash”, which did not address the rights of communities.

“The ministry (of Mines) has complete disregard for the communities affected by the decisions they make in Harare,” he said.

“The ministry gets its powers from the Mines and Minerals Act, which is a very big tutorial piece of legislation for it concentrates too much power on one individual, but whose decision affects everyone,” he told participants drawn from various mining communities.

Maguwu said it was disappointing that mining companies were not answerable to the communities in which they operated, but to the Mines ministry, which was largely unaware of events on the ground.

“That is why some of them are pumping raw sewage into rivers where the communities are drinking water from, and livestock and wildlife are dying. Talk of Chiadzwa, they are pumping raw sewage and sludge in to Save River,” he alleged.

“Most of these permits are made in the name of special grants which are basically decided by the permanent secretary and Parliament is not involved.”

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