Looters, panners storm Chiadzwa• Sacking of firms triggers chaos • Ministerial delegation to visit fields

Snr Asst Comm Charamba

Snr Asst Comm Charamba

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Panners reportedly stormed Chiadzwa diamond fields on Monday evening following Government’s directive for all firms there to cease operations since it had taken over control of the concessions.

A ministerial delegation is expected to visit Chiadzwa today to assess the situation.

Workers at the diamond fields — including security personnel — were not spared, exposing the fields to panners and thieves.

Mining equipment, fuel and household goods were reportedly looted on Monday evening, with the Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) making a report to the police yesterday.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa on Monday ordered all diamond mines in Chiadzwa, except Marange Resources, to stop operations and leave the Zimbabwe Republic Police and officials from his ministry in custody of the concessions.

Marange Resources is wholly-owned by the Government.

Police could neither confirm nor deny moving into the fields, with their spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, saying: “The police will comment later after analysing the situation.”

Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga confirmed receipt of numerous reports of what transpired in Chiadzwa yesterday.

“There have been all sorts of reports coming from that area. We have our officers on the ground and by midday tomorrow we will have the reports,” he said.

But sources who spoke to The Herald said there had been no proper handover-takeover as the decision to takeover at the mines was abruptly implemented.

As a result, it was no longer business as usual at the mines.

“The illegal panners are back in full swing and they have started panning,” said a source.

“All the mine security details were removed from the mine. The police and officials from the ministry are inadequate to secure the fields. Gates into the mines have been broken down which complicates the whole thing.

“The problem is the officials who came in also disconnected CCTV (Closed-circuit television). So it’s difficult to trace who is doing what.”

DMC general manager Mr Ramsy Malik yesterday confirmed the looting of their assets, adding that they had since filed a report with the police.

“They sent 15 ZRP and ministry officials to secure an area that was guarded by over 120 security personnel at a time,” he said.

“They asked people to pack up and leave at 6pm. Is that humane? They stopped us from removing our equipment from the field to leave it to thieves. This is a mess. Now there is no value for what we built over six years and now it’s being destroyed in a day.

“They should have at least allowed us to plan and work together to take care of our personnel first, secure the equipment and property and then allow proper hand-over-take over. Intimidating and pushing people over is not the solution.”

A report from the mine to management seen by The Herald yesterday indicated that a number of equipment and property was looted on Monday evening.

“Batteries were stolen from the generator at the warehouse,” reads the report.

“Batteries, solar panels and wheels were stolen from the water pumps and mobile lights-units at the mining area.

“Batteries were stolen from the 5 ELB screens and the Sandvik screen, as well as the batteries from the earthmoving machines at the mine.

“All panels of the power screens and mining fleet were opened and parts broken and removed. Damages and loss amounts to an estimate of over $300 000.”

The report added: “Fuel from the screens mentioned above, as well as fuel from all earthmoving machines in the mining area was drained.

“Fuel and the batteries from the generator at the Save River were stolen. Break-in at the Human Resources Office took place, having a desktop computer, printer and odd electrical items stolen.

“Break-in at a residential unit at the executive camp, having a television set stolen. Information was also received that an illegal miner died during an illegal mining activity. Confirmation is not yet received.

“The representatives of the Ministry refused to acknowledge our concern over the deployment and safeguarding of the equipment at the mine and river. They replied that we have no interest in their duties. Estimates in excess of 7 000 litres of fuel were stolen.”

The report added that some of the equipment that had been tempered with would make it difficult to resume operations.

“As we are not allowed to access the plant to continue maintenance, the FeSi in the correct medium sump turns hard as stone, and will cause extreme difficulty to start operations again.

“The water supply to the local community is now also disabled due to the generator at the Save River that is not operational,” the report said.

Other companies said they were still assessing the damage and would respond soon.

Government stopped diamond mining in Chiadzwa on Monday and only Marange Resources was allowed to continue operations after the firms refused to support the establishment of the consolidated firm in the last seven months.

The consolidated company is expected to improve transparency and accountability.

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  • DK

    Chidhakwa is proving clueless.

    • Chief Economist

      Cde Chidhakwa akadakwa !

    • Chino’s Bru

      Smells like Farm Invasion season again – Aloota Continua !!!!

      • karombe

        true, but veduwe doing it now when there is drought and unemployment is skyrocketing. ngatityeyi Mwari ndapota

  • Cecil Roars

    That is what Chidhakwa wanted. We are going back in large numbers.

  • WeMwembe

    yodofa mari iya….

  • Biggie Taapatsi

    Please tell me this is not true. So I guess all the good work that had been done to get Kimberly Process Certification is gone, just like that! Now our diamonds will be labelled illegal, grey or blood all over again. What kind of govt is this???? Nxa

  • punungwe

    The damage done by heavy handed abrupt and clearly thoughtless decisions is mostly irreversible. It is one of the reasons why our economy went to the dogs, and bodies like RBZ are still saddled with claims for money abruptly snatched from private individuals.

    Unfortunately the people who make those extremely poor decisions and judgement calls never face the consequences.

    Did the government seriously expect that if it made the announcement that companies are closed, the workers who do various functions from security to maintaining equipment who still do their jobs when they knew they no longer had salaries.

    Did the person who made the decision even think that far?

  • Jerenyenje

    We wait and see.

  • Matsimba

    I smell a conspiracy here, where the affected parties engaged and/or encouraged the rampant looting to paint a picture of chaos and thus forcing government to reverse its decision. The removal of current diamond mining houses from Marange is a noble one, however government should retain the services of all security personnel in the area until such time that ZRP has fully secured the area. Later on ZRP should handover security to the consolidated mining company’s own security personnel.

  • Robson Dambudzo

    Seriously how do we attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment with such behaviour. How many people have lost their jobs as result of this move. How do you instil investor confidence when you decide to boot mining companies in a day without taking into consideration the investments made (machinery , infrastracture etc)..

  • Cde

    Government of Zimbabwe just pressed the self destruction button

  • Wakisai

    Chaos and confusion reigns. Hallmarks of Government’s total incompetence and lack of foresight.
    Will there be a showdown between Chinese investors and Zimbabwe after Government unilaterally stopped Chinese diamond producer operations? Under a contractual agreement valid from 1st March 1998, the Chinese point to non-respect and violation of articles 8 and 4 of the agreement claiming no changes have been made to their original terms and conditions, while Zimbabwe Government claims it is up to the Chinese to change their contracts and licences depending on constant flip-flopping Zimbabwe policy reversals and must respect unfinished changes to local Zimbabwean laws.
    Since the Zanu-PF Government has placed so much official and public faith in FDI and Chinese mega deals, let’s see who blinks first in their different interpretation of respect for the Rule of Law and International and Bilateral agreements.
    My bet is Minister Chidhakwa will be made a scapegoat and kicked out for insulting our Eastern friends?

  • justsaying

    good move Chidhakwa at least you have shown that we are not a Chinese colony ,am releaved

  • Telescope

    Can someone fire the incompetent Ministers for a change please. What has this Chidhakwa done chino msoro from the time he was appointed. Guess they are now sending their people to loot under guise of the chaotic situation. Yoweee Zimbabweans why go to school if you still not educated. Pfungwa dzoremerwa nemadegree chabuda ZERO.

  • TEMERAI sister yaBONDERAI

    And you cry fowl when someone claims Zimbabwe has become a BANANA REPUBLIC

  • Harare

    Too long you were eating shut up its time for the masses to EAT

  • Japana Hapana

    Regai vanhu vakorokoze. The govt had a chance to do it properly and they have failed. At least this way wealth is distributed to many people and the real beneficiaries. Not just to give everything to a few people sitting in Harare, who in turn give all the diamonds to some chinese for a few bucks. I support whats happening now

  • Tsunami

    Chiyadzwa chidhakwa nxa

  • Chihota

    I think those who initially created this confusion by licensing all these companies to operate in Marange never really put economic sense into what they were doing. It was all politics. And I suspect that in the midst of all this confusion some people in high places got handsome kickbacks to have this crowd of companies in Chiadzwa. Why did they not consult Botswana, which despite all its diamond riches, only has two companies Debswana and Orapa. This would eliminate all this confusion. I have a gut filling that the confusion in Chiadzwa was a deliberate creation by someone to get rich, and not to have this country move forward. Cry the POVO!

  • Panga

    its not only diamond industry only Prof, its everywhere

  • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

    I thought the presence of the Home Affairs Ministaer on that press conference was to take care of all related assets and expected behavior. As an example, how can a quantity of 7000 litres be easily stolen like it was being officialy taken? How can all the mentioned assets be easily stolen, if not taken? We need the comments from ZRP because they were very presnt when the announcements were being made. Please can we have some announcements on the national accounting of the Chiadzwa diamonds from the start of the mining period to when the closure was effected a few days ago.

    • wezhira

      Zvimwe zvakagara zvakabiwa kare ne the people in power. now hat government has created a chaotic situation it has just given all those who had taken anything to blame it on invasion.lol

  • Drunken Master

    Ma Cde Why switch off the CCTV? hameno kungobvunza hangu

  • DarkChild

    Worse! Apart from absolute disregard of the law, they it appears they do not even put any thought to the consequences or possible effects of their actions! Looks like we have a government that has a habit of acting just to prove a point that they have muscle, or kungoda kusvotesa chete!

  • murandakumwe

    yep yep yep u pple, especially u povo like me, wat have u benefited so far since gvt came into control of Chiadzwa, zero, nothing, mopopotei as if abirwa ndimi, u sympathize wt these pple for nothing, regai zvakadaro we are losers and already lost and we will remain losers as long as this gvt is in control. Nxaa

    • Observer gonzo

      Yebo, actually this kind of over zealousness has some factionalism tone to it. Find out which faction Chidhakwa is and which one the dispossessed miners are linked to and you will have your answer. Where else do you think chidhalkwa gets the b*lls to lash out with that tone in a clear testimony he also has a whip on him.
      Hint: Munangwagwa/Chinese relationship.

  • Dungagun

    hi

  • Khathazile

    Ninety days to remove movable assets, and perhaps demolish or render unusable anything remaining, leaving the sites in the same ecological clean and virgin state they were found in before mining activity started? Apart from short term contract workers the companies need to give/pay 3 months or 90 days notice to terminate employees.
    Seeing as Government is responsible for immediately stopping all exploitation and new income generation for these firms, I’m certain Government and the Minister of Mining will feel morally responsible to assume all outstanding retrenchment fees and payments for thousands of new jobless employees?

  • Tom Toms

    kkkkkk its like tom and jerry

  • Chandunga

    Mining staff are the culprits taking advantage of the chaos, in order to steal and loot.

  • karombe

    honestly i thought chidakwa was different, but this…… ndapererwa

  • u useless asholes

    sonn you will have sanctions from russia and your chinese buddies too!