Senators decry disorder in mining sector

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Vice President Kembo Mohadi

BY VENERANDA LANGA

SENATORS have decried the chaos in the mining sector regarding issuance of mining claims which have resulted in fights, and have urged the conclusion of the Mines and Minerals Act amendment.

The issue was raised by Chief Fortune Charumbira last Thursday during debate on the 2018 and 2019 National Peace and Reconciliation Commission reports which were tabled before Senate by Vice-President Kembo Mohadi.

The NPRC had recommended that there must be promotion of programmes which foster tolerance, equality, and social cohesion among Zimbabweans.

The other recommendation was that the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act be expedited to quell fights in the mining sector.

“The amendment to the Mines and Minerals Act should reach its logical conclusion because in the communities where we come from there is now a lot of disturbances emanating from ownership of mines with some claiming that they have been given documents by the Ministry of Mines,” Chief Charumbira said.

“As chiefs we have to deal with a lot of complaints from our subjects whose fields would have been taken over by miners,” he said.

Mashonaland West senator Violet Moeketsi demanded that chiefs be included in the NPRC so that they resolve the chaos in the mining sector where several people have lost their lives after engaging in illegal mining activities.

“Things are not well. Those who are giving permission to people to go and carry out mining activities are not doing it in a proper way. Last week I spoke about some of the workers who were unfortunate in that the mine collapsed while they were inside. This means that this pit was illegal. If it was lawful, these workers would have been rescued. Right now, these workers are still in that pit.

“We must do the process in a transparent manner so that those giving licences must not continue giving papers while people are dying,” Moeketsi
said.

She said the country’s infrastructure was being destroyed due to illegal mining activities, with some pillars at bridges now loose because some parts would have been removed during illegal mining activities under the bridge.

Mines Minister Winston Chitando recently told MPs during a virtual meeting organised by the Transparency International Zimbabwe that the draft amendments to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill would be presented before Parliament this month.

Apart from fights for mining claims, the country is also seized with the problem of machete gangs who have taken advantage of policy gaps to cause havoc and violence in the artisanal mining sector.