Women miners demand stake on govt boards

BY VENERANDA LANGA

WOMEN miners in Zvishavane, Marange and Mutoko have called on government to ensure that they are involved in decision-making bodies such as the Mining Affairs Board through the Mines and Minerals Bill to be crafted in Parliament.

The issue came out during a recent third gender and extractives symposium which ran under the theme: Making the mining sector in Zimbabwe fully inclusive for women: Balance for Better.

The symposium also called on government to close loopholes promoting corruption in the awarding of mining claims.

“We urge government to ensure that the Ministry of Home Affairs rolls out a national ban on possession of machetes while supporting the #Stopthemachete campaign, as this will reduce the incidences of violence associated with the use of machetes especially in artisanal and small scale mining,” the women miners said in a statement.

“Government should close the loopholes that are promoting corruption in the awarding of mining claims and urgently review, enact and enforce laws that require businesses to respect human rights; creating a regulatory environment that facilitates business and respect for human rights.”

The women miners said government should also compel mining companies to contribute towards building climate resilient infrastructure and promote devolution of power which is gender inclusive to enhance tax justice and promote responsible investment.

“More research is also needed to ascertain how devolution relates to gender and extractives and government must ensure that mining companies invest more into community projects before investing in entertainment such as supporting the national football team. This will improve and enhance service delivery in the health, education and other social sectors,” they said.

The women also called for affirmative action in the mining sector by reserving quotas for women in the chrome, gold and other sub sectors of mining, as well as promoting transparency in the sector by embracing open and competitive bidding for mining contracts, while drawing lessons from countries such as Mozambique that have adopted these.

On Fidelity Printers and Refiners they called for competitive prices so that small-scale miners are not tempted to trade on the black market.

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