Minister ‘unleashes’ Zanu PF youths, police to grab mine

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Zanu PF youth

Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Appolonia Munzverengi is being accused of using her political muscle to grab a mining claim owned by Mekasi Engineering.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The company claim that the minister had no documentation, showing she was the rightful owner of the mine.
Mekasi Engineering director Amos Kawisha said Munzverengi was disrupting mining activities and hired Zanu PF youths and police officers led by one Superintendent Zhou to forcefully stop operating.

Kawisha said he applied to the Mines ministry for a special grant to mine gold in the reserved area of Umfurudzi Game Park, and the ministry confirmed that there was no registered title on the area applied for.
According to documents that NewsDay is in possession of, Mashonaland provincial surveyor, one N Chitaukire, in a letter dated June 6, 2019, acknowledged receiving an application by Mekasi Engineering, saying the description of the claim they applied for had no registered titles,

“This office acknowledges having received an area status to apply for a special grant in reserved area Umfurudzi Game Park by Mekasi Engineering Contractors,” Chitaukire’s letter, copied to provincial mining director Malcom Mazemo, read.
“It was noted that description of the area that was submitted in the application fully describes the area that is being applied for. There are no current registered titles on the area being applied for and the area is not under contest, according to the claims map. This application can be made on the following co-ordinates, provided they have clearance from National Parks.”

Chitaukire’s letter was in response to the Mines permanent secretary, signed by one J Mhiribidi, who asked for investigations into the matter after Mekasi Engineering wrote that there was a potential miner who was trying to kick them out of their claim, alleging they were the prior owners.

Kawisha then applied for clearance from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to mine gold in the Umfurudzi Safari Area, and they were cleared on June 12, 2019 by parks director-general Fulton Mangwanya.

“The Parks and Wildlife had no objections to the mining of gold in the area as long the company is complying with provisions of the Parks and Wildlife Act and other legislative requirements. Should your office require further information, please, contact us,” Mangwanya’s letter read.

Kawisha said he invited the minister to show the documents that prove the claim was hers, but she brought a document that could not be verified by the ministry.

But the minister denied the allegations that she hired Zanu PF youths, but confirmed to NewsDay that she engaged the police and Environmental Management Authority officials to force Mekasi Engineering from further mining until the dispute was resolved.

“He must tell you the truth. I have not sent anyone to the place. Actually, I went to the mine with my child and niece and other relatives. I have the permit of that claim since 2010 and that place is mine. Call the mining director for Mashonaland Mr Mazemo. They are the custodians of the mining claims. He will tell you who the owner of that claim is. He is talking of applying, but I have the permit,”Munzverengi said.

NewsDay then asked for proof of ownership, but Munzverengi promised to bring the document since Friday last week, but had not done so at the time of going to print.

Contacted for a comment, Mazemo said he did not know of any dispute over the claims.

“I still need to very, but I think it’s a matter of other claim holders encroaching in other claims which they are not entitled to. We still need to bring the parties together and verify issues,” Mazemo said.