Pay up, diamond mining firms told

Cde Gumbo

Cde Gumbo

Tendai Mugabe and Lloyd Gumbo
Zimbabweans yesterday urged all mining companies to honour their pledges and operationalise the 59 Community Share Ownership Trusts launched by President Mugabe over the past three years.
The funding is in line with Statutory Instrument 114 of 2011, which requires mining companies complying with indigenisation and empowerment regulations to dispose shares to designated entities, with at least 10 percent of the shareholding going to CSOTs.

Government sources yesterday said the Office of the President and Cabinet wanted all mining companies to honour their pledges.
Community Share Ownership Trusts were established in terms of Section 14B of the Economic Empowerment (General) Regulations of 2010 which provide that local communities whose natural resources are being exploited by any ‘‘qualifying business’’ must be guaranteed shareholding in such business.

The analysts spoke in the wake of divergent comments on the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust launched by President Mugabe on July 25 2012 where all the five companies operating in the area pledged to contribute US$10 million each to the Trust.

Last week, the mining companies told Parliament that they were not aware of the Marange-Zimunya CSOT and had not made any pledges towards its implementation.

Social commentator Mr Godwine Mureriwa said the diamond mining companies had no choice but to comply with the law.
“It is not a question of what they pledged, but it is mandatory for them to give to the communities,” he said. “Zim Asset is very clear about the need to empower indigenous Zimbabweans and to indigenise the economy.

“President Mugabe has been consistent about the need to make sure locals benefit from mineral resources. People should realise that mineral resources do not reproduce. They must cater for current and generations to come.

“They should not take those things lightly. If they can’t fulfil that then I do not see why Government should be tolerant. They must know that there is competition out there. We have to be fair in sharing profits from diamonds by ensuring that communities benefit.”

Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said there was need to set up a taskforce that would establish facts about the Trust.
“The position is that we feel there should be a thorough investigation of what transpired so that facts can speak for themselves,” he said.

“The problem is that at the moment there is so much speculation which results in unfortunate judgments. The companies are making those allegations, but the minister has also said what he has said.

“We want to avoid a situation where people rush to make statements which they cannot substantiate.”
University of Zimbabwe lecturer Dr Charity Manyeruke said ignorance of the law was no defence and the mining companies should comply with the law.

“We are not worried about the past, now that they know the law, they should meet their obligations,” she said.
“They have an obligation to pay because that is the process in the whole indigenisation and empowerment process.
“We have seen it happening in Zvishavane, Unki and Chegutu, among other areas.”

Dr Lawton Hikwa from the National University of Science and Technology said the mining companies made the pledges in terms of the law and they should implement what they agreed on.

He said failure to honour the pledges was defying the country’s laws and measures should be taken.
“If they are now saying they did not pledge, it is a clear defiance towards the application of the law,” he said.

“If others have implemented it, why should some make excuses?”
Former Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday cleared the air, saying the launch of the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust was done above board and all responsible ministries were involved and represented at the launch.

However former Mines and Mining Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu – who on Monday said he was not aware of the existence of the Trust – remained non-committal yesterday.

“Talk to the miners (diamond companies). I am Minister of Transport (and Infrastructural Development). Why don’t you talk to the minister of Mines (and Mining Development?)

“These are official issues. Miners have already spoken, so what else do you want?” he asked.
Although his response suggested that he was in agreement with the mining companies in Marange, he participated at the launch of several CSOTs launched by the President.

He attended the launch the Chegutu, Mhondoro-Ngezi and Zvimba Community trusts in 2011 where he said the mining sector had failed to transform into meaningful direct benefits to communities.

At the launch of seven community share ownership trusts in Hwange by President Mugabe in October 2012, Dr Mpofu said chiefs from Matabeleland North, especially in Victoria Falls, had approached him to express concerns over the destruction of crops and human lives by elephants and lions in their areas.

Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Francis Nhema could not be reached for comment, but an official at the ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity said the ministry had since instructed the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board to establish the reasons for the conflicting facts coming from the diamond mining companies and the ministers.

“What the ministry wants is to get facts. There is now confusion on what happened because of these conflicting statements,” said the source.
“NIEEB will be expected to get certificates if any or minutes of what transpired during those alleged meetings.”

Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator – Zanu-PF) who chairs the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Parliamentary Committee yesterday said they would produce a report and present it to the House.

“The committee will produce a report and submit it to Parliament and not to any minister, the Press or anyone else,’ he said.
“The committee advises the press to contact Minister Kasukuwere or any other minister they wish to seek clarification from.”

He was also there at the launch of seven CSOTs by President Mugabe in October 2012.
Incumbent Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Francis Nhema could not be reached for comment but an official at the ministry – speaking on condition of anonymity – said they had already instructed the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board to establish the reasons for the conflicting facts coming from the diamond mining companies and the ministers concerned.

“What the ministry wants is to get facts. There is now confusion on what happened because of these conflicting statements.
“NIEEB will be expected to get certificates, if any, or minutes of what transpired during those alleged meetings,” said the senior ministry official.
Zanu-PF legislator for Gokwe-Nembudziya Cde Justice Wadyajena, who chairs the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, yesterday said they would produce a report on their findings during deliberations on the diamond saga.

“The committee will produce a report and submit it to Parliament and not to any minister, the Press or anyone else.
“The committee advises the Press to contact Minister Kasukuwere or any other minister they wish to seek clarification from them,” he said in an emailed response to questions from The Herald.

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  • Tawanda musarara

    As has become the norm of the Herald of late it continues to be opiniated as was the case in Gono – Kereke story. If what the miners said is true why is it that the Herald seems to be at pains to pin down Minister Mpofu. Why not follow the course suggested by the ZANU PF spokes person Cde Rugare Gumbo. Since the Herald knows that Minister Mpofu attended quite a number of these launches can it enlighten us on why he was not in Zvishavane, Tongogara and zimunya – marange. Where is the institutional memory of the herald . Is it forgetting that minister kasukuwere once cancelled the licenses of some of the miners without the consultation of the relevant ministry. What came out of this. Surely The Herald is doing a disservice to the nation.

  • Truthfulness

    It’s sad reading comments from Obert Mpofu when it is clear that events being discussed here happened when he was minister of mines, does he have something to hide one wonders ,I also hope the CSOT are. Or going to engage in activites like poultry and farming but should be the ones to spearhead mineral purification or value addition as well as any consultancy services or ventures and try and attract professionals, that’s how communities develop into towns then cities.

  • Mthulisi

    This is all politics. How does the government enforce the contributions when the mining companies never signed anywhere. Rally statements are not valid at law

    • Hemp

      How does government enforce the contributions? The same way we took the land of course. By ginya. Those mining contracts can be revisited, by law, and nullified. What rock have you been living under?

      • Mthulisi

        Chiitai tione. We know how these things work. All they have to do is grease a few palms and its water under the bridge

  • simon moyo

    I think these Zimbabweans calling for Diamond companies to pay are missing the point. With some of the shareholders buying R180million dollar properties in Ballito kwaZulu Natal in South Africa and other places where do they think money will come from. The question to ask who are the shareholders of these companies?Are they not the same “connected” people as those who have been fleecing parastatals(SALARYGATE). They had the same “connections” and they support the same party . To expect anything positive from them is a pipe dream .
    Rather than dwel on this and other scandals let us try to do what is right and put independent structures and institutions to stop corruption and immorality hopeful our country will develop

  • masvukupete

    Simple statement. Incompetence of the highest order.

  • Jotham

    The companies should not play cat and mouse game with Govt. If they participated in these issues as a way of grandstanding with the Min. Indeg.& Youth , they will pay the price. There is a possibility that they were hoping Zn(PF) would lose the elections and they can say Goodbye to this issue. Tough luck. They could also be a possibility to mislead the President by some high ranking officials in Govt. Then somebody will surely pay.

  • Wezhira70

    Sure these companies so the display cheque & said nothing? Then they
    should honour up. Again these other guys have a point, Dr Chitiyo…”We
    are not worried about the past, now that they know the law, they should
    meet their obligations,” Dr Hikwa…“If they are now saying they did
    not pledge, it is a clear defiance towards the application of the
    law,”If others have implemented it, why should some make excuses?” As
    for Dr Obert Mpofu tinoda mhinduro not just saying his not the min, he
    was by then & such a high govt official should not be so ignorent about such an imp & talk of the moment issue.

  • ismith

    How can these large sums of development money be given to headman and subukus who have got no business or project management qualifications?. Is it not wise to channel them through existing government institutes like local council or districts?. Why create these unnecessary bureaucratic and corrupt structures.

  • The Scribe

    What a poorly written intro! Just where did these “Zimbabweans” make these calls, in a referendum? If The Herald needs to write an editorial, they must just go ahead and do it rather than bend the definition of hard news with such opinionated offerings. It isn’t that the opinion is invalid; it’s the attempt to make it “news” that is.