BY SILAS NKALA
STAKEHOLDERS from Matobo district in Matabeleland South province are appealing to government to accelerate the approval of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, a key legislation hoped to bring sanity to the mining sector.
The calls were made at the inception workshop for a programme on strengthening transparency and accountability in natural resource governance convened by Habakkuk Trust in Matobo district last week.
Revelations were made that most mining communities were not benefiting from the mineral resources within their localities.
The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill has been stuck in Parliament since 2015.
The draft Bill, among other amendments, contains provisions to resolve farmer and miner disputes and will also regularise the artisanal mining activities.
Habakkuk Trust’s latest report stated that during the workshop, stakeholders bemoaned the current mining legislation that gives priority to gold prospecting at the expense of farming activities and environmental conservation.
Matobo Rural District Council chairperson Tobias Sibanda said one of the challenges was lack of commitment in ensuring communities were involved in resource governance.
“The mining law should be amended urgently because as we speak, communities are not involved in the governance of locally available resources,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned, the community is not involved and cannot be involved in the governance of local resources because of this Act.”
Councillor Henry Ncube lamented that some individuals held many mining concessions which were not utilised.
“You will find individuals in possession of mining concessions for huge tracts of land which are lying idle and upon discovery of gold, the individuals resurface and claim the ore without giving regard to the artisanal miner who discovered it,” Ncube said.
Other stakeholders said those who were benefiting from the current legislation were slowing down the approval of the Bill.