Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa yesterday defended his ministry’s permanent secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga for chairing three boards of parastatals under the ministry saying the entities were due for dissolution and it was not prudent to constitute substantive boards in those circumstances.
Minister Chidhakwa said while he agreed that it was not consistent with the tenets of good corporate governance, the arrangement was proper “from a practical point of view”.
He was responding to a question from Binga North MP Mr Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) on whether his ministry was not compromised given reports that Prof Gudyanga headed several parastatals.
Earlier on, Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF) had asked for progress in the training of indigenous persons in diamond polishing.
The parastatals that Prof Gudyanga chairs include the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, Mineral Exploration and Marketing Company and the Zimbabwe School of Mines, and in so doing flouts the National Code on Corporate Governance barring permanent secretaries from sitting on such boards.
Minister Chidhakwa said the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe would soon be made part of Mineral Exploration and Marketing Company in terms of the Mining Amendment Bill before Parliament.
“We did not feel it prudent to appoint a board for three years ,only to dissolve it after six months and tell them to go home.
“Marange Resources was going to be subsumed into Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company and once we finish what we are doing, he will cease to be the chairperson,” said Minister Chidhakwa.
“I hear you from a corporate point of view, but it was done from a practical point of view”.
Minister Chidhakwa said 25 Zimbabweans were being trained in diamond polishing and cutting by a reputable Chinese firm.
He said the Chinese firm was paying for the training while Government would waive payment of royalties.
Responding to another question, Minister Chidhakwa said Government plans to introduce a Trust Fund to be pooled by mining firms to rehabilitate the environment and compelling firms to rehabilitate the environment at periodic intervals of their mining operations.
He said this was a hybrid programme aimed at ensuring that the environment was rehabilitated.
Cde Nduna had asked what Government was doing to ensure mining firms rehabilitate the environment.
He, however said Government would not accede to regularise illegal panners commonly known as makorokoza.
He said miners should first approach his ministry and get land for mining and not invade it before asking to be regularised.
“There are people in our midst who go onto the ground and start mining before coming to our offices and then say can you regularise when you are already on the ground.
“As MPs we need to be true to ourselves and to the people who voted us,” said Minister Chidhakwa.