17 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Mines Minister Chidhakwa Summoned

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa has been summoned to give evidence before a Parliamentary Committee today on controversial circumstances surrounding the establishment and pledges made to the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust.

The portfolio committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF), has been receiving evidence regarding the Trust from various stakeholders with some diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa expressing ignorance on the establishment of the Trust.

Others said they pledged only US$1,5 million each contrary to claims that five of the diamond mining companies had pledged US$10 million each.

Only two companies, Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources, have disbursed US$200 000 each, while Diamond Mining Company, Anjin Investments and Jinan have not paid anything.

As a result, the committee wants to establish whether the community would benefit from the mining operations in their area. When the Trustees appeared before the same committee last year, they bemoaned interference by politicians and lack of funding for community development.

Appearing before the same committee recently, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Francis Nhema said the mining companies were aware of the Trust because they had attended meetings that culminated in its establishment. He said Community Share Ownership Trusts across the country had no written agreements since they were established through gentlemen's agreements.

He also told the committee that he was engaging Minister Chidhakwa to ensure the firms donated to the Community Share Ownership Trust.

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