At a training where ZPP enlightened councillors on their socio-economic rights it emerged that mining companies were swindling Mutoko of its natural resource, granite.
The National Director of Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), Jestina Mukoko, made a presentation on socio-economic rights. The presentation seemed to be an eye opener for the 15 councilors that were in attendance. Her points were buttressed by Tapuwa Nhachi, Research Coordinator at Centre for Natural Resource Governance, whose presentation hit closer to home as it addressed the effects and benefits of granite mining in Mutoko.
Despite that the mining of granite in Mutoko has gone on for over four decades the only benefits that councillors said they have gained are a school, community hall and clinic built by the mining companies over the years, one person per year has their education funded by one of the mining companies, the local heroes acre has been given granite to use for tomb stones and a school was electrified.
The councilors acknowledged that they have benefited from the mining taking place in Mutoko, however, they added how they note with concern that the benefits are not in line with the number of years that the mining companies have been operational not to mention the amount of money the stones rake in.
The roads in Mutoko are very poor, as with most parts of the country, but what makes it worse in areas like Nyadire in Mutoko is that the miners are not making an effort to repair or construct more suitable roads. The haulage trucks’ weight alone causes grave damage to the road yet the trucks ferry at least 7 tonnes of granite per trip. Most of the buildings en route to where the mining is centred have cracked as a result of heavy loads and haulage trucks.
Surprisingly, Mutoko is listed as one of the poorest towns in Zimbabwe yet it’s orphans and other vulnerable community members could benefit from community share ownership.
The mining activities have an effect on the infrastructure but are increasingly becoming a threat to life in Mutoko. Councillors asserted that quarries are often left open and tend to breed mosquitos and snakes. During the rainy season they fill with water. The sharp edges below the water are a danger to young people who dive into the water.
It was said that these companies offer no social security to the people of Mutoko as they do not employ locals but bring external man power. At a time when unemployment is high the people of Mutoko expect mining companies operating within the district to create jobs for locals.
Some of the councillors revealed due to high employment and heightened poverty in rural areas, young girls are lured by miners, impregnated and left stranded when the miners move to other areas. This leaves most already suffering families with more mouths to feed.
The challenges facing the people of Mutoko cannot go unabated. The local leadership has pledged to engage other leaders and community members for the betterment of Mutoko as a whole. The following are the resolutions that were made on 17 August 2016.
- When we call for an audience with mining companies and we expect them to send a person who is in authority to respond to our queries instead of the usual where the individual says, “I do not have the powers to respond”.
- Councilors are supposed to have access to reports and policies regarding mining. Information should be availed by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Environmental Management Agency and Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
- Rural District Council should be stricter in making follow ups and in responding to concerns regarding environmental degradation and improper living conditions as a result of granite mining
- Community members will be encouraged to document violations occurring as a result of the mining
The extraction of granite is riddled with corruption there is need to put an end to it by calling for transparency and accountability.
Watch as one of the councillors speaks out in this video youtu.be/g1QSRP7-IXQ?a
Images below show some of the damages that are being done in Mutoko and how there are no attempts to rehabilitate the environment.