HomeOpinion & AnalysisEditorial comment: Govt must ensure communities benefit from resources in their...

Editorial comment: Govt must ensure communities benefit from resources in their area

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REVELATIONS by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) that it has started investigating the black granite mining industry in Mutoko following reports that local authorities were being paid peanuts in taxes by mining companies make sad reading.

Mutoko Rural District Council claims that it is getting a paltry US$1 per tonne of black granite mined from the area.

This was revealed during a Youth Initiative for Community Development anti-corruption symposium held recently at Mutoko centre.

Zacc prevention and corporate governance acting general manager Munyaradzi Magiga said there was a need to investigate the granite mining industry to plug loopholes and ensure that communities benefit from their natural resources.

“We do have those with loads of money getting claims ahead of those who applied for the same for some time. It is disturbing to hear that the local authority (Mutoko) is getting a dollar per tonne of granite. Surely a dollar? We need to investigate and see if this is not corruption by multinational companies,” he said.

“The granite blocks are going out and we will never recover them. It is a pity that you see a school with thatched roofs near a granite mine, yet council is getting nothing.”

It is a crying shame that Mutoko is one of the poorest districts in the country despite being home to several granite mining companies.

The plight of communities that are not benefiting from natural resources in their areas has become commonplace in the country. The communities in the diamond-rich Chiadzwa are living in squalid conditions despite the availability of the precious stone.

That diamonds are being smuggled out of the area for the benefit of the politically-connected at the expense of the community is not only scandalous, but tragic.

That it took a national outcry for government to reverse the decision to boot out thousands of Chilonga villagers for a Dendairy project highlights the extent  of the neglect of most communities to the benefit of multinational
companies.

The Hwange community continues to live in poverty despite vast coal, gas, lithium, timber and wildlife resources.

That communities remain impoverished while companies get richas from their resources is a damning indictment on government.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has spoken ad nauseum about its desire to improve the lives of the citizenry. Ensuring that communities benefit from resources in their area should be the first step towards improving the lives of local communities.

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