Mogovolas — People living in Mogovolas district in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula have complained to President Armando Guebuza that they are being excluded from the exploitation of deposits of precious stones in the district.
Speaking at a rally chaired by Guebuza on Saturday, in the administrative post of Iuluti, local resident Paulino Saute said it was the people of Mogovolas who had discovered the deposit of precious stones at Marraca, but were subsequently driven from the site, allegedly in favour of South Africans.
"This land is rich in precious stones", said Saute. "When the people discovered them, they began to extract them, using spades. Afterwards we were advised to form associations but, to our surprise, the police drove the people out and burnt down their huts, claiming that the land already had an owner".
In a speech that was strongly applauded, he added that South Africans had set themselves up in Marraca and had fenced the deposit, preventing local residents even from attending their cashew trees which are now behind the fence.
The report given to Guebuza by the secretary of the Iuluti administrative post did not so much as mention precious stones. Nor did the provincial report, presented by Nampula governor, Felismino Tocoli - in terms of minerals, this only mentioned the production of titanium ores from the heavy sands in Moma district, and the production of iron ore (magnetite) in Lalaua.
The main criticism in the Iuluti report was that the fact that Iuluti is not yet on the national electricity grid "holds back the economic development of the administrative post, particularly in mining and commercial investments".