- Download 25
- File Size 278 KB
- File Count 1
- Create Date February 18, 2021
- Last Updated October 12, 2021
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 FEBRUARY 2021 VOL 47 NO 23
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 18th February, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received non-adverse from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on
Statutory Instruments that were gazetted during the month of December, 2020. I have also to inform the House that I have received non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instruments that were gazetted during the month of January 2021 excluding Statutory Instrument No. 25/2021.
ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY
Additionally, I have to inform the House that I have received an adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory
Instrument No. 25/2021.
LOGGING IN ON VIRTUAL PLATFORM
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to advise Hon. Members that they
are required to log in for the sitting of the House using their full names or indicate their names on the chat platform. If members fail to do so, they should seek assistance from the ICT department. If that is not done, the attended benefits will not accrue to them.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On a point of privilege
Hon. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of privilege?
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr.
Speaker. It is in connection with our communication virtually. Yesterday, I was connected virtually and it was almost impossible to hear anything in the House, the request is that perhaps the IT could mute everybody and ask Members of Parliament if they want to speak or to do a point of order to raise their hands virtually because it then becomes very difficult to hear anything. It was really problematic to engage or to listen through to the conversations that were taking place. I just thought you needed that feedback.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you I thought during the process, I made that announcement and also asked ICT to mute the Hon. Members. We need a new Standing Order rule to make some people comply accordingly. I hope the Hon. Members who are online have heard your concerns and will act accordingly, Hon. Misihairabwi-
(v)HON. GONESE: I cannot hear you Mr. Speaker. I do not know whether it is my gadget or whether it is the system of the gadget.
THE HON. SPEAKER: But I can hear you.
(v)HON. GONESE: Yes, I can hear you now but the last words that you spoke, I did not hear you clearly.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What I said was, I hope you take note of what Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga has indicated, that you remain muted unless if you are to speak and raise your hand accordingly so that we can control the voice cross-overs.
(v)HON. GONESE: I hear you Hon. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I know that you made a ruling and I would like you to reconsider the ruling.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Which ruling?
HON. T. MLISWA: It is to do with the ruling that you made Mr. Speaker Sir on the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to come and give a report on the bad results. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like you to consider the following points which I will raise now. There was COVID-19.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, do not speak for the Minister. Let the Minister come and do the Ministerial Statement.
HON. T. MLISWA: I was not speaking for the Minister. I saw in my constituency, most of the bad results are out of COVID-19.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you allow the Hon. Minister to come and give his Ministerial Statement. You are not his advocate.
HON. T. MLISWA: No, I was not saying that. I just represent people…
THE HON. SPEAKER: You do not debate my ruling after 12
hours, that is not permissible.
HON. T. MLISWA: Okay Mr. Speaker Sir, I stand guided by you.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I ask that you recognise me on a point of privilege if you may.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. You have just made a ruling on the ICT gadgets in terms of registration for Members that are on virtual. I ask having gone through yesterday’s session of question time, that Parliament administration makes available two permanent gadgets on the table for Hon. Ministers and for the Members that are there in the House so that it expeditiously deals with your business in the House and makes sure that there is no muting, unmuting and back and forth in that regards. That eases the work in the House.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! All Ministers and all Members of Parliament were issued with tablets and I cannot go beyond that. Yesterday I said everybody must bring their gadgets or get assistance immediately from someone who has got a gadget nearby, otherwise there is no excuse.
PENSION AND PROVIDENT FUNDS BILL [H. B. 17, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE) presented the Pension
and Provident Funds Bill [H.B. 17, 2019].
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 15 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 16 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINES AND
MINING DEVELOPMENT ON PETITION SUBMITTTED BY THE
ZIMBABWE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ASSOCIATION (ZELA)
HON. MKARATIGWA: I move the motion standing in my
name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio
Committee on Mines and Mining Development on the Public Hearings on the Petition submitted by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA).
HON. MADHUKU: I second.
HON. MUKARATIGWA: The portfolio Committee on
Mines and Mining Development, received a petition from the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in May 2019, calling for the speedy review of mining laws, in order to address contemporary challenges dogging the industry such as irresponsible investments and degradation of the environment. This was informed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the United Nations (UN) Guidelines on Business and Human Rights. Section 13 and 73 of the Constitution provides for the need for communities to benefit from resources located in their areas and for protection of the environment respectively. The UN Guidelines on Business and Human Rights are premised on three principles. Firstly, the state has primary responsibility to protect human rights. Secondly, business enterprises should respect human rights and thirdly, there should be mechanisms to address human rights violations. After wide consultation with different stakeholders in various parts of the country, the Committee observed that there was general consensus with the views of petitioner calling for the review of the Mines and Minerals Act, so that it is in sync with the Constitution as well as regional and international legal frameworks that govern the extractive industry.
However, a minority group namely the Peggers Association of
Zimbabwe was not in support of what was raised by the petitioners.
- To get an insight on the impacts of investments made into the mining sector.
- To understand the importance of reviewing the Mines and
In July 2019, the Committee held a consultative workshop in Kariba to discuss the petition raised by ZELA as well as to interrogate the loopholes in the current Mines and Minerals Act. The petitioner Mr M.
Dhliwayo outlined the concerns and expectations of the petition. In order to get a fuller appreciation of the petition, the Committee conducted public hearings in the 10 provinces of the country from the 19th to the 23rd of August 2019. The hearings were conducted at the following centres; Filabusi, Bulawayo, Bubi, Shurugwi, Kwekwe, Banket, Shamva, Penhalonga, Makaha, Mashava, Shamva and Harare. The participants were drawn from: mining communities, associations of small-scale miners, an association of peggers, students from Zimbabwe School of Mines, workers from mining companies, investors in the mining sector, officials from local authorities, education officers and the public in general. The hearings were highly interactive and the participants expressed their views on the mining sector. The major challenge with the hearings was that some of the participants digressed from the issues raised in the petition and focused on other mining related issues.
3.1 Investments into the Mining Sector
Major investments into the mining sector worth billions of dollars are usually made by multi-national organisations, most of whom invest in the gold, platinum, lithium and chrome sectors. In the last 2 years, millions worth of investments were made into the platinum and lithium sectors, largely by Karoo Resources and Arcadia Resources. The Committee observed that there was little or no input received by large scale producers at these public hearings. However, other stakeholders, particularly local authorities and mining communities, gave their perspectives on the mining investments within their vicinity. Some of their concerns included the following:
- Local authorities expressed concern on revenues collected through unit tax levied on producers. With the advent of highly mechanised equipment, unit tax was no longer meaningful, since it was levied on the size of human capital. As such a call was made for the review of unit tax so that local authorities benefit from minerals mined within their jurisdiction. In the same vein, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) was called upon by local authorities to plough back to the communities from the gold proceeds mined in their jurisdiction. Furthermore, local authorities raised concern that there was no policy regulating the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of mining companies and where CSR activities were taking place, they were not in sync with the developmental programs of the local areas.
- At Old Nic Mine, the Committee received submissions to the effect that the mine had changed ownership several times in the past decade. The workers were the most affected in that each new investor brought in his or her own terms and conditions, some of which were prejudicial to the workers. A recommendation was given that there is need for mining companies to disclose the identity of investors, so that the rights of workers and other interested parties are not violated. Furthermore, a call was made that there should be declaration of profits or losses by companies in order to reduce incidences of smuggling of minerals and other forms of illicit financial flows.
- In Bubi and Shurugwi districts, a call was made for disclosure of mining agreements and that they should be written in the local languages as well as in braille. This would empower the local community to hold investors accountable for their actions. In the same vein concern was raised that local communities were not fully benefiting from minerals mined in their vicinity, in line with section 13(4) of the Constitution.
- It was highlighted in Shurugwi that there is need for competitive bidding among investors. This will enable the country to get investors who are principled and abide by international and national law. It was further highlighted by the public that there should be disclosure of identity of the shareholders of a company so that they can be held accountable. It was observed that a company can change its name several times, yet the shareholders remain the same. An example was cited of King Daughter’s Mine (formerly Red Wing) where a new company called Properties Amenities is now operating at the site and the identity of the shareholders remain obscure.
- Mining communities in Mudzi expressed concern on the behaviour of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development which was allocating claims in sacred places, such as burial places for chiefs.
This violated the community’s social and cultural rights. According to the community, this was a sign that the investors do not respect the community’s culture, values and rights as outlined in the UN Guidelines on Business and Human Rights. Furthermore, investors were called upon to plough back to the community, in order to curb vices such as prostitution and drug abuse among young people. In Chiadzwa, there were complaints of human rights abuses by the mining companies, who at times beat up villagers on the grounds that they were encroaching into their mining claims.
- Where mining operations result in relocation of communities, a call was made for investors, to ensure that the affected persons are left in a better position than they were before the relocation.
Concern was raised that some families that were relocated from
Chiadzwa did not receive compensation through a verbal
agreement entered into with the investors. As a result the villagers were struggling to get redress from the mining companies. Whilst there were several complaints raised against investors, one investor complained of unfair treatment by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development where he narrated of the challenges encountered whilst trying to get a mining concession. Investors are at times coerced into paying a bribe in order to speed up the licensing process or to get a mining concession. The investors also lamented the fact that the approval or rejection of an application can take as long as 9 months and, in the process, stifling investment into the industry. Therefore, it was recommended that the Ministry of Mines, should introduce a one-stop centre that will process and facilitate investments into the mining sector.
- Environmental Management Issues
The Committee noted that there was lack of enforcement of environmental laws by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA)
particularly where there are illegal mining activities. In the process, this infringed on the rights of other land surface users, such as farmers, wildlife, livestock, and communities among others. The Committee was informed of unacceptable dust levels emanating from mining operations, which were affecting the health and well-being of pupils and the community in Insiza, Shamva and Mudzi districts. In the same vein, mining communities from Chiadzwa complained of water pollution emanating from diamond mining operations. In Mashava, there were complaints that Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), were not broad enough to include the local leadership such as Chiefs. However, the Committee did not get an opportunity to interact with EMA due to time constraints, in order to understand their constraints in enforcing environmental laws. A call was made that there is need for formalisation of all unregistered artisanal and small-scale miners and a holistic approach was needed for this process to succeed.
- Strengthening of Institutions Within the Mining Sector
The petition by ZELA outlined the need to promote principles of good governance such as transparency, justice, accountability and responsiveness. During the public hearings, the Committee received complaints on the operations of some State institutions such as Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development and the Environmental Management Agency. FPR was accused of paying lip-service to the challenge of curbing gold leakages in the country. Producers outlined that a lot of gold was traded on the black market because the buyers offered better returns than FPR. Although FPR is the sole buyer of gold in the country, it is paying 55 percent in USD and the balance in Zimbabwe dollars. Due to inflation, it was difficult for producers to recapitalise their operations. Furthermore, some small-scale producers complained that FPR, was not visible in all gold producing areas. This forced some miners to trade on the black market, to avoid travelling costs to the nearest gold buying centre. Corruption was identified as another source of conflict in the mining sector, particularly by officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. These officials were accused of being biased and demanded kickbacks for one to get a service or for a decision to be made in one’s favour. A call was also made that any increase of fees and charges by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should correspond with service delivery. A recommendation was made that an application for a mining claim should be processed within one month in line with the Ease of Doing Business reforms. Furthermore, a call was made for the speedy implementation of the computerised cadastre system in order to reduce conflicts in the mining sector.
- Review of Mining Policies and Legislation in Zimbabwe.
The Committee observed that there was a general consensus on the need to review the mining laws in Zimbabwe, particularly the principal Act, the Mines and Minerals Act. These were some of the provisions that were outlined at the workshop held in Kariba in July 2019 and also during the public consultations:
- The composition of the Mining Affairs Board should be expanded to include other stakeholders such as civil society, communities, among others.
- The powers of the Mining Affairs Board need to be decentralised so as to speedily resolve mining disputes or farmer-miner disputes. It was highlighted that decentralisation will speed up the resolution
of disputes, which often-times are counter-productive. A recommendation was made that mining disputes should be resolved within 3 months, so that productivity and revenue continue to be generated.
- There is need to enforce the ‘Use it or Lose it’ policy to enable investors and locals to get access to unutilised claims. Large-scale producers were accused of holding on to vast tracks of land which they were not fully utilizing. In the same vein, the Committee received complaints from small-scale miners that a lot of land had been placed under Exclusive Prospecting Order (EPO), hence disempowering local communities especially the youth who have limited opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
- A call was made that the new Mines Bill should be crafted with a gender lens. A number of women miners expressed concern that they were treated unfairly by State institutions such as FPR, the police and EMA.
- It was highlighted that there is need to craft a compensation model for relocated communities. This will empower affected communities to hold the investors accountable for any social and economic impacts they encounter as a result of mining operations.
- A call was made that the Mines Bill should be in harmony with other laws such as the Environmental Management Act. Furthermore, it emerged at the workshop held in Kariba as well as during public hearings that there is need to review the Gold Trade Act, particularly sections that touch on the possession of gold. A number of small-scale producers have been arrested for the possession of gold. Whilst pronouncements have been made by the Executive that gold be traded on a ‘No Questions Asked’ basis, this policy has not yet been translated into law. In the process artisanal and small-scale producers remain vulnerable to policy inconsistency and uncertainty.
Whilst the majority of the stakeholders called for the review of the Mines and Minerals Act, the Peggers Association of Zimbabwe highlighted that they were satisfied with the current piece of legislation hence there was no need to review the law, save for a few changes. The Peggers Association called on ZELA to report to the police those investors that were violating the laws of the country. The Peggers Association went on to highlight that the reasons for degradation of the environment was due to the lack of enforcement of the existing laws.
Whilst mining laws are critical in regulating the operations of the sector, it was highlighted that there is need to ensure that mining laws are in harmony with other laws that touch on agriculture, the environment and those governing local authorities.
- Committee Observations
The Committee made the following observations:
- There was a general lack of information on the contents of the Mines and Minerals Act. As a result, the bulk of the stakeholders were not aware of some of their rights as enshrined in the law. For example, there was a call that the Mines and Minerals Act should have provisions on the prohibition of mining near public
infrastructure, such as dip tanks, homesteads, yet this is already provided for in the law.
- There is lack of harmony between laws affecting the exploitation of natural resources, particularly those that relate to the management of the environment, local authorities and mining sector.
- There is no parity on the taxes levied by local authorities on mining producers. Each local authority imposes a mining levy different from the others making investment expensive in one district compared to another. Hence there is need for the association of local authorities to address this matter, in line with the ease of doing business reforms in Zimbabwe.
- There are some companies domiciled in Zimbabwe where ownership changed hands but the transactions for change of ownership is done outside the country. In the process the country is not getting any capital gains like tax and the identity of the
shareholders often remains unknown. This makes it difficult for workers and communities to claim their rights.
- State institutions working or affected by mining operations are not working together or are not cooperating on issues that directly affect them. For example, local authorities are not aware of all mining licenses that are granted by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development within their jurisdiction.
- Rural district councils are not fully implementing the laws as they relate to the pegging of mining claims particularly in communal areas in line section 31 (h) of the Mines and Minerals Act. As a result, local authorities are unable to monitor mining operations in their jurisdiction leading to environmental degradation and mineral leakages.
- Whilst the Mining Affairs Board can be decentralised to all the mining provinces, the Committee noted that the responsibility of resolving mining disputes should be delegated to mining commissioners, to lessen the workload on the Mining Affairs Board.
- There is low participation of women in the mining sector due to gender-based violence. Some women miners narrated their ordeal of losing their mining claims by the mere fact that one is a woman.
- The Ministry of Mines should ensure that it brings before Parliament amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act by 30 September 2020 as agreed upon at a workshop in Mutare, July 2020.
- Civil society organisations such as ZELA should work towards raising awareness on the contents of the Mines and Minerals Act, so that communities and ordinary citizens can claim their rights as enshrined by law.
- Associations of local authorities should empower their affiliates with knowledge on the Mines and Minerals Act and the Rural
District Council’s Act so that local authorities can fully engage the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in order to claim their rights and taxes pertaining to mining operations in their jurisdiction.
The Committee on Mines and Mining Development, concurs with the petition submitted by Zela, that there is need for responsible investments in the mining sector that respect the rights of the citizens of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, there is need for the review of the Mines and Minerals Act which will go a long way in the improvement of service delivery by the Ministry of Mines particularly with the introduction of the cadastre system. Therefore, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should endeavour to bring before Parliament the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill which is critical in promoting investments into the country in line with the Ease of Doing Business Reforms and in ensuring that country is able to attain its status of becoming an upper middleincome economy by 2030. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Your guidance is sought in this matter. Listening to it, it seems the Mines Amendment Bill is really the sticking point. A number of workshops and stakeholders meetings have been held and I remember the last time that we worked through it so that a few areas could be worked on. Should it again go for public hearing or the specific areas which had been picked up by His Excellency are addressed? Does it require another stakeholders meeting or what? This has gone on for a while and for as long as that Bill is not through it will take time.
It concerns me because as a Committee we worked hard and I see that there is not much progress. Should it go back again to the public or the concerns raised by His Excellency can be dealt with by the Attorney General? It is incumbent on the Committee to bring the Minister before the Committee and give him a deadline that can this be done. Workshops will always happen but the implementation of this; we met stakeholders before unless there are other new people - the Chamber of Mines, Zimbabwe Miners Federation and so forth. Your guidance is sought in this regard. When can this be brought to finality? The last time we went to Kariba, I always follow this...
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are now debating Hon. Member.
HON. T. MLISWA: Okay, just to conclude; the last time there was a workshop in Kariba and I remember you saying it will now be finalised. It is still not been finalised. I do not know how your office can assist in ensuring that there is some communication between the Committee and the Minister in terms of the rules. How can it be resolved once and all?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. If you listened carefully, public hearings were conducted in response of the petition by ZELA and the Committee is obligated to involve the public through public hearings about that petition. They confined themselves to issues raised in the petition.
As for the conclusion of the Mines and Mining Bill, when the matter was brought to the attention of the House, as you will recall and you rightly indicated, some further issues arose which required Cabinet debate in terms of certain aspects of the Mines and Mining Bill as suggested for amendment by His Excellency the President. So it had to go back to Cabinet because there was some extensive review of that Bill beyond what His Excellency had indicated. That has been done. What needs to be done is final agreement amongst all the stakeholders through final workshop to look at new proposals that had gone through Cabinet so that they wrap it up. My understanding is that Hon. Mkaratigwa is organising with the Ministry and they agreed that come next month, the Bill should be finalised and be ready for tabling in the House.
HON. MADHUKU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to begin by thanking the Chairperson of the Committee on Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Mkaratigwa and the entire Committee for doing a sterling job in view of this petition by ZELA. He has touched on several issues of importance that are critical to the country reaching a middle income economy by 2030 as propounded by His Excellency, President
- D. Mnangagwa. The mining sector plays a very pivotal role in meeting this objective. I want to zero in on two or three important issues.
Firstly, I want to talk about the issues on eight of the extractive industry transparency initiative. I think this is a very critical issue in terms of giving accountability and transparency to some of the issues which are bedevilling the mining industry. I want to recall that earlier last year, the Minister of Finance alluded to the fact that Zimbabwe was supposed to be a member of the extractive industry. If my memory serves me well there was a budget set aside for this important issue but up to now we have not joined this important organisation and yet if we become a member of the Extractive Industry Transparent Initiative (EITI), we are going to get rid of some of the issues. There is going to be transparency, accountability and publication of payments made to the Government of Zimbabwe by companies both domestic and
This is very important because from what the Hon. Chairperson of the Committee was saying, there is a grey area in terms of remittances of the companies and even what they are producing as well as their corporate social responsibility. You will see a company saying they have ploughed back to $5 million a community and there is a tendency of making a lot of noise and ballooning this figure like they have done something very big yet the question is; how much did they get from these local resources for them to give back $5 million? The local communities continue to be prejudiced yet if we were a member of EITI that would shed a lot of light on what should be ploughed back. Therefore, we are calling for the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to expedite the process of joining this important organisation. Being a member can also eliminate corruption because it is very clear even from the newspapers that there has been a lot of corrupt activities in various departments of the mining sector. There are also a lot of conflicts in mining between the miners and the land holders. These issues could be looked at if we were members.
We also talk of the issue of poverty resource case or the paradox of plenty. We continue to have a situation whereby a country blessed with a lot of resources continues to lag behind other countries which are less privileged in those resources. Therefore, it is very critical that there has to be a correlation between the resources which are extracted and the level of development of the country. We are also talking about the awarding of contracts and licences. It is also a very grey area. Ownership is also not very clear. We have a company which is registered here but we do not know the directors. In some instances they are outside the country and the remittances are done outside the country or via another company which is not domiciled here in Zimbabwe. I urge the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to ensure that this issue is addressed.
There is the issue of gender impact. We need to see a lot of women in mining. They are there but they are so much disadvantaged because they are abused by men because the law does not seem to protect women yet they are supposed to be key players inasmuchas the youths are. We want to see this issue addressed. The environmental impact is a critical area, we cannot continue mining leaving our country looking like a desert. We are not going anywhere. Those mining are supposed to reclaim the environment and leave it in a better state than which they find it. All these issues can be resolved if Zimbabwe joins EITI. There will be so many benefits such as accountability and transparency.
I also wish to talk about the CADASTRA system. This is to do with the records in the mining sector, who owns what pertaining to the mining claims. There is chaos in terms of the records. They are in shambles as they are done manually, whereby there is a tendency to have double or multiple allocations because of the manual system. The Chairperson of the Committee is calling for the computerisation of the whole system so that it becomes effective. When one wants information, they should be able to get correct information and no mix up on who owns which mining claim. We pray that the amendment to the Mining Act will take care of this and resources are going to be put in place to ensure that there is going to be computerisation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Chairperson spoke clearly on the other issues but I thought I could zero-in on these two important and technical points. I am happy that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic
Development is here. He did talk of factoring the CADASTRA system in the budget. I think he will assist by ensuring that this situation is expedited. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
(v)HON. PHULU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to congratulate the Chairperson of the Committee on Mining and the seconder for bringing such an important motion. I would also like to recognise the stakeholders who brought about this kind of petition. I also want to take into mind before I proceed what Hon. T. Mliswa has said-to say look, there is need to quickly finalize the issues do to with the Mining Act. I would like to take a slightly different view to say inasmuch as there is the Mining Bill that we are waiting for when members of the public made such an important intervention, I think that this is the opportunity time for us to consider the importance of this discussion for another perspective.
The Mining Act is one of those important Acts of Parliament that we have ever passed in our lifetime. There is an important question that we need to consider which is raised throughout that report, that is the question of the current Mining Act that we have. We must consider that when it was put in place, the politics of the times were different from what we have now. For instance, the people who brought about the Mining Act, their aim for coming to our country was primarily in order to harvest what was underneath the ground so that they could go and build their own countries. Over a large number of years, that is what they have done. They have built all their major cities using minerals and proceeds that they extracted from our country. If you go to Malawi, Zambia, the colonizers were not settling in those countries, they were just merely looting their minerals and their riches. In Zimbabwe we have some settlers who settled for their own purpose in order to come and take over the country and mines.
The other thing was that what was under the ground was more valuable than the natives who lived above the ground. You can entirely understand their legal policy to say that if you find a village with merely Africans, they could easily just tell the villagers to move and they did not care where those villagers would go. What they wanted were the minerals under the ground to take outside the country. So, their notion of development was to take the minerals and sell them for great money.
Our new Constitution envisages a different situation. Section 13 says that we now have a right to development and the way we look at the right to development is in tandem with how the African Charter looks at the right to development and other developing nations - every time what they call African Vision. Our development is not merely extraction, for extraction is not the most important thing that is in the Mining Act. We have distribution and extraction and that is not what all mining is about - but certainly issues to balance against the humans who live in the communities where this gold is going to be mined and where this oil or gas is going to be mined. To us the Africans who live above the ground are more important than the gold underground. So we must adopt an entirely new concept on how we view a Mining Act.
I think that the Bill that has been proposed has not changed in terms of looking at this whole thing of extraction versus development. I think this is calling for greater scrutiny on those issues. Development entails as we have set it out in the Constitution, it entails participation of local communities, it entails people benefiting from their own resources, it is there in our Constitution and anything that is referred to should have an enquiry on some of these important issues. I would like to say that certainly this is an area where we need a consolidated Act, quickly so that we put it back but certainly one that will ensure that members of the public are not disadvantaged, villagers and people in communities can also add in their words as we consider the Mining Act.
I will not go into the technicalities of the Mining Act but in the
Company’s Act that we passed in this House takes care of some of those issues. Another point which I can support is the issue to do with registration, double allocation and the way, in which these provincial mining commissioners do not take their offices seriously, they are not computerised, we have double allocations. Those jobs are very important - I think that there should be a total overhaul in terms of status of those offices to ensure that they work in the manner that is satisfactory. Another element is that the Mining Act actually also envisages that any mining claims must be registered, that has not been often happening. I think that there are a lot of important areas that need to be looked at. This is one Act that I was saying a multi-stakeholder Committee should be set up by this House to actually look into the things to do with the Mining Act to ensure that the product we have at the end of the day takes care of local authorities, international standards and so forth. It is not the one that we can quickly rush through because it has implications on our developments and our progress as a country in the future regardless of our political affiliation, our age and so forth, this is one Act that we must take very seriously. There must be a Parliamentary Committee to look into mining because there are multidimensional, and multi-stakeholders who are approached from different points of view for instances those who deal with the environment, safety issues and so forth - Africa looses a lot of revenue year in and year out.
Mining is one area where we really need to slow down to ensure that they do it properly. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
(v) HON. TSUNGA: Thank you very much for affording me this opportunity to contribute to this very important motion my Hon. Mkaratigwa seconded by Hon. J. Madhuku. Indeed, it is important to recognise the important role that civil society needs to display to complement Government effort and for this petition by ZELA. Having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, a number of important issues have been raised and discussed in the report. A good many of the issues are quite disturbing and they require definite steps to be taken by the authorities to ensure that some sort of sanity prevails in the mining sector. Indeed, mining has to bring about lasting improvements and progress in people’s lives but at the current rate it does not look like the generality are benefiting from the mining activities and there is need to take this report very seriously and implement a good many of the recommendations as suggested by the Committee.
Mr. Speaker Sir, some of the issues include the issuance of mining permits. A lot of issues arise here. The delays from the time of application to the time of issuance are worrisome and inbetween a lot of khaki envelopes may be exchanging hands. So there is need to ensure that the issuance of permits is streamlined and that the process is expedited so that we curb the likelihood of corrupt tendencies taking place.
The other issue relates to the invasion report, the degradation that is going on in the various mining sites. Mr. Speaker Sir I come from a mining constituency. Mutasa South Constituency has one of the mines that the Committee has cited as an example and there is a lot of degradation going on around that mine. So if this is the trend nationwide then there is really need for decisive action to be taken to ensure that we address the rate at which land degradation is happening at the mining site. For example Mutare River in Penhalonga in Mutasa South Constituency will soon become history because that river is no longer flowing and it has been diverted and some sections have been badly eroded and silted because of the mining activities around that area. So it requires again EMA to be proactive and to ensure that it is visible in the various areas where mining activities are taking place to ensure that degradation is contained.
There is also a lot of unfilled or unclaimed pits as a result of artisanal mining or illegal mining activities. There is a lot of dust that is going towards residential areas and it certainly is impacting the quality of life of the people and the quality of air that they are breathing. So all these, among other issues would need to be addressed.
The other issue, Mr. Speaker Sir, is with regards to corporate social responsibility. In several mining sites there is no indication that a lot of resources are coming up from those areas because the profits are not ploughed back or a proportion thereof. It is not ploughed back to the communities to help in developing these communities. For example simple things like crossing points to allow people to access social services, schools, clinics and markets should be built because people are swept away trying to cross flooded rivers, whereas there are mining corporates in those areas. So simple projects like crossing points need to be prioritised – housing, clinics and roads - these need to be considered. If you want to cross from perhaps say a location called Tsvingwe to go across Tsambe River to St Augustine’s Mission, you cannot cross. There are no crossing points when there are mines which are making millions out of resources in that area.
Another aspect Mr. Speaker Sir is that of artisanal miners. We all know that artisanal mining is contributing a good chunk to national revenues and we may not be talking about prohibition, but let us talk about regulation so that the sector is properly regulated without necessarily prohibiting it. So once we focus on regulation, I think there can certainly be order in that sector and the people of Zimbabwe will be able to benefit from their resources through artisanal mining activities. For example youths can be organised into groups and mining claims awarded to these organised groups and then they can be able to mine in a systematic way and be able to contribute to national revenues without
the environmental degradation that we are seeing in the various mining
So there is need for sustainability so that we enjoy the resources we have now, but not at the expense of future generations to also enjoy the benefits of these resources. Mr. Speaker Sir, the report by this Committee I think should provoke some introspection into those tasked with the responsibility of superintending over mining activities in this country so that they are able to come up with policies, programmes and projects that are sustainable and that help this country move forward.
Mr. Speaker Sir the recommendations if implemented should help bring out sanity in the sector. I therefore am also in support of this report and look forward to the tabling of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill in the House in the shortest possible time.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker, I rise to join in the debate and support the report by the Chairperson of our Mines Portfolio Committee. The issue of protecting the environment is key and it is protected in section 73 of the Constitution. That provision is codified and produced
in section 4 of the Environmental Management Act or the Environment Act of Zimbabwe.
When you juxtapose, Hon. Speaker, the issue of the environment and mining, there is a contradiction and that contradiction arises from the way that mining has evolved in this country. The whole basis of the movement of the Pioneer Column in 1898 into the country that later would become Southern Rhodesia was the hunt for minerals. They thought that when they moved up north crossing the Limpopo river the gold belt would continue into our country. Sadly that was not the case.
The current Mines and Minerals Act was passed by the South Rhodesia Parliament in 1923 and as Hon. Phulu has alluded to the philosophy was one thing and one thing alone, it was extraction. It was an accumulation model, Madam Speaker, based on extraction through imperial giants which still exist in our country at the present moment. One needs to look at companies such as Zimplants, RioTinto, the old defunct Lonrho, Caledonia and other companies. We still have the same extractive accumulation model based on extraction, extraction and extraction.
Ninety five percent of the minerals that are produced in this country are shipped out of the country, which is unfortunate. So if you are to wake Cecil John Rhodes right now, from his beautiful grave at Matopo; the productive sector would not shock him because the accumulation model has continued 100 years later.
There is a problem Madam Speaker Ma’am, with a model that is based on extraction because it is under development. If you go to Rio
Tinto’s Renco Mine in Masvingo/Chiredzi, to give one example – you cannot travel the 90km stretch of road from the mine to the Chiredzi road. It is the most under-developed and harsh road that one can ever travel, you know emaguswini - a terrible road. This mine has failed to develop its own surrounding, there is no spatial development and there are no hospitals, clinics, universities and processing plants to add value to the gold that they are extracting – that is just one mine Madam
Go to ZIMPLATS, only two days ago, a mine shaft collapsed at ZIMPLATS and a miner was killed because ZIMPLATS has failed to put in place adequate protective measures for its workers. Madam Speaker, I happen to act for a number of former miners who have been exposed to dust in the mining environment – underground and have developed lung diseases. One of the lung diseases is called pneumoconiosis but there is a Pneumoconiosis Act in Zimbabwe that deals with workers who suffer this disease from consuming and being exposed for years and years of dust.
Speaking about ZIMPLATS again Madam Speaker Ma’am, it has
been in this country for more than 10 years. It has failed to construct a refinery so that we can process the platinum metals that they are mining. So our platinum is taken to South Africa where there are potentially 10 metals that can be extracted including palladium and others and they only account to one thing and one thing alone – the platinum but not the other minerals and metals. Diamonds, Madam Speaker Ma’am,
USD$15 billion worth of diamonds was stolen in the five years that alluvial diamonds in Chiadzwa were at their peak. We have got so many minerals Madam Speaker Ma’am but the contribution of the mining sector in this country is so insignificant compared to that of Botswana.
Botswana, is a mono-mineral country with one mineral – diamonds. Diamonds have developed that country into an upper middle income country with per capita income of USD$9 600.00 and as I am talking to you right now, Botswana has foreign currency reserves of at least USD$10 billion just arising from one million. Madam Speaker, between 2009 to 2012 – USD$3 billion was lost in Zimbabwe through illicit financial flaws that involved transfer pricing, think capitalisation and the companies that are largely involved in these nefarious and illicit activities are these huge mining corporations – ZIMPLATS being at the centre of the shenanigans against the Republic of Zimbabwe.
So, if we have to have a correct balance between business and mining consistent with Section 13 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Government of Zimbabwe needs to revisit its policies towards these multi-national corporations, its policies towards these imperial giants and with great respect, what I have seen in the Mines and Minerals Act is not adequate. We have to tackle these big imperial fascist companies Madam Speaker.
Look at the environmental degradation. I come from Murewa
Madam Speaker Ma’am and every day, I pass through these huge trucks carrying huge blocks of granite from Mutoko. If you go to Mutoko
Madam Speaker Ma’am, you can hardly breathe because the atmosphere has been corrupted by these foreign miners who are extracting black granite in Mashonaland East and they are digging big holes. If you go to Chiadzwa, I have been privileged to go to Chiadzwa, Anjin, the biggest diamond mine there has started what is called, conglomerate diamond mining because alluvial diamond mining has ended. So with conglomerate diamond mining, you dig huge holes in the ground to extract the rock Madam Speaker Ma’am. Yet these holes, when they leave, are uncovered.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, if a child, a human being or a car falls into those pits – you will die, they are huge. So, the environmental damage that is being caused is massive. I propose a model of mining that has got spatial linkages and spatial linkages, I am proposing a method where if an investor comes into Zimbabwe; he/she must be asked on what linkages he/she is going to have in that community. That is forward linkages, backward linkages or spatial linkages that include the upward holistic development of that community. So corporate social responsibility is not enough because corporate social responsibility as Hon. Madhuku said, a huge company will give ZWL$5 million that is tax deductable anywhere. So they recover it very quickly but there is no meaningful development that actually takes place and mining is ephemeral – it is not permanent.
Go and see the ruins of Mhangura Mine in Mashonaland West to see how damaging mining is. Mhangura is a good example because when the mine died – the community died. When I grew up, there used to be a famous football team called, Mhangura United and that football team died. So you want to create a situation when you push for spatial development, you want to push for a situation where if the mine dies, the community does not die because other industries have been grown out of that community and industry. We need Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am glad that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, is here. When we look at mining, we need to move from a taxation method that looks at net profit – that just looks at dividends because if you are just going to look for dividends, they have got a creative accountant who will make sure that you get nothing. So go to, I do not necessarily support indigenisation in the sense of ownership because it means nothing.
Go for a structure where the country participates in the growth income of the company – Botswana does it. Botswana literally takes
85% of every dollar that is produced from its diamonds and the huge De Beers is there because the 15% that they get is enough to justify their existence. So, I am proposing Madam Speaker Ma’am, a taxation model that makes sure that the country has a major stake in the growth income of the wealth that is being created in the ground – I am proposing spatial development.
Thirdly Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am proposing value addition. We need to move away from extraction to value addition. What can we do with our diamonds for instance? It pained me during the Government of National Unity Madam Speaker Ma’am. I had occasion to visit a little village called, Surat Gujarat in India. There were 76 000 women, employed to polish Zimbabwe’s diamonds. You do not need a degree or anything Madam Speaker Ma’am, to polish diamonds but they were exporting our diamonds to create employment yet we have 95% unemployment here. So value addition is key and that is the future for our country.
Fourth Madam Speaker Ma’am is a strong regulatory framework. The current regulatory framework that the Ministry that issues out the licences is the same that does the regulation. This cannot work because you cannot regulate yourself. So, I am proposing that there must be a strong regulator that consists of multiple agencies including our Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and civic society to monitor the nefarious activities of many of the mining houses here.
Fifth Madam Speaker Ma’am is the acquisition of mining rights. Mining rights in Zimbabwe are acquired opaquely, so someone ends up taking Great Dyke investment. Someone ends up with a platinum concession in Norton and someone ends up with a huge diamond concession. If you go to Chiadzwa, we do not know what criteria was used for Anjin to get a mining concession. With these high value minerals, what most countries are now doing is to auction them transparently. You employ your experts, fantastic accountants, financial advisors and you auction those rights transparently. When you auction, it is possible now to say what you are going to do; what is going to be the better bid and so forth.
The other point is international evaluation; this is where the importance of joining the extractive industry transparency initiative is important because you are making yourself accountable to international processes. Finally, we need to push the United Nations (UN) to come up with a protocol, treaty or convention that deals with illicit financial flows. In the same way that we have got protocols and conventions on women, you know CEDAW, on children, on torture, on terrorism and on prostitution. We also need an international protocol or convention at the UN against illicit financial flows because when we have that, when the naughty boys from China, Russia or the West come into Zimbabwe, the UN will be able to act under the guise of an international protocol. If we do not have an international protocol against illicit financial flows, it means little vulnerable states like Zimbabwe will remain at the hands of these behemoths like Zimplats, exploiting our resources through thin transfers, pricing, thin capitalisation and illicit financial flows.
Lastly, we need to find a way in which we make money, developmental and transformational for the person we have classified as artisanal/small scale miner. The image and structure of artisanal mining in Zimbabwe is that of a korokoza. So we have got boys who work so hard, get a few dollars, get a few grams of gold, they go and sell it to a miller, mostly Chinese millers extract 60/70% of what they are mining.
So at the end of the day, in the value chain, the artisanal miner is working for the miller or is working for the smuggler who buys that gold and goes to sell it to South Africa.
It is estimated that 75% of the gold that is currently being processed at Rand Refinery in South Africa is actually Zimbabwe gold and gold has got a DNA. So scientists are able to say this is
Zimbabwean gold; this is Botswana gold; this is Ghananian gold. If it were not for those leakages, Hon. Minister, we could easily do 50 tonnes of gold in Zimbabwe but we are not going to be able to do that. So let us revisit the structure of artisanal mining so that the boys that are actually mining do not just labour in the value chain of mining with smugglers like the McMillians extracting gold to South Africa. I thank you Madam Speaker.
(v) HON. MASENDA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me
this opportunity to add my voice to the motion that was moved by Hon. Mukaratigwa and seconded by Hon. Musakwa. I would like to highlight a few issues towards the motion. Firstly, the Bill must aim to move from mere extraction of minerals. We have numerous minerals in this country and if we move from extraction to value addition and beneficiation, we can realise proper value of our God given resources and we can also create employment for many people.
The Bill must also aim to empower makorokoza and the name itself must be removed. They should be equipped with proper mining equipment and skills. They should have legal recognition so that we curb smuggling.
The Bill must also strictly address the issue of collapsing mines; we are hearing of mines collapsing and people die in the process. There should be a policy that everybody who is involved in mining should be obliged to protect employees from injuries or deaths that might be caused by unsecure mines. The other issue is the Bill must address….
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Masenda, please
remember we are debating on the report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development on the public hearings on the petition submitted by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA). I just thought I should correct you. We are not debating the Bill.
HON. MASENDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. We should also
look at restriction of leaking of our minerals. We find that there are small airports dotted around the country whose purpose is strictly to smuggle minerals out of this country. This should be stopped, otherwise industries will not be able to give us what we expect from gold. We are losing a lot of minerals through leakages. The other issue which I would like to address is the restriction of using corrosive substances in mining such as the use of mercury to extract gold from the ore. We should therefore put into place measures that protect the environment, people and animals whose consumption of water that has been polluted will put their lives in danger.
Lastly, we should guarantee for example safety of the miners. We have been reading through the newspapers, watching TVs on issues of maShurugwi, the machete yielding gangs which go around robbing and killing people. We should address issues related to that very strictly so that anybody who gets into the mining sector their safety is guaranteed. I would like to thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity.
HON. MADZIMURE: I have a lot of things to talk about but I
will start with the issue of corporate social responsibility where the best interest of the company should be interpreted within the parameters of the company as a sustainable enterprise and the company as a responsible citizen. It is important that as companies operate and as companies come into an area, they must understand that the area has people who live in the area.
(v)HON. KASHIRI: Hon. Madzimure should speaker louder because we cannot hear him.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, please may
you raise your voice?
(V)HON. MADZIMURE: I will try to be louder. I was saying that the best interest of the company should be interpreted within the parameters of the company as a sustainable enterprise and also the company as a responsible citizen. As the company comes or moves into an area, it must understand that there are people who have sustained that area for a very long time. As a result, its operations must not disturb their lives to an extent where they regret the coming of the company. It is important that every company follow through regulations that Government must have put in place to ensure that after its operations, people that it found in that particular area can still live sustainably. It is important that, that is taken into consideration.
I once paid a visit to a certain area in Kenya in Ivasha where there are companies that grow flowers. Because of the regulations that the Government put in place to ensure that companies which grow flowers co-exist with the community, you find there are secondary schools, hospitals and ECDs that are top class. The business environment around has transformed lives of the people to the extent that you now have companies which have got nothing to do with flower growing but because people benefit from the business, they have also started other businesses and you now have real towns around the areas where flowers are grown.
This is one of the models that we must copy as Zimbabwe to ensure that the area around a place where mining is taking place can give birth to other industries so that at the end of extraction, and because it is common knowledge that when you mine you do not grow any other gold underneath, it is depleted completely. We must ensure that we have got a policy as Government that wherever an activity takes place, at the end of that extraction, there is something that is left behind. We also have short memory as Zimbabwe. I still remember some six years ago when there were a lot of community benefit schemes and these have just died a natural death. No one is talking about them anymore. No one ever audited what was given to the community and no one is talking of what the benefits were out of those schemes. Madam Speaker, it is still important for us to say what was wrong with that particular scheme. Were we are just showcasing or we just wanted people to see that there was something happening. I think it is important that we revisit it and say what really happened.
Another issue that I would want to talk about is the issue of transparency in the extractive industry. When people talk about joining the extractive industries transparency initiative, the whole idea is to make sure that we do our business transparently so that the people of Zimbabwe benefit from our own minerals. It does not say if you join you are going to contribute all your proceeds. It is just that we want to be accountable so that this correlation that Hon. Madhuku talked about - between the resources that we claim we have and the development out of what we have as a country; if there is correlation between the minerals that we have and the extraction that is taking place which is massive extraction, it will be better for us to stop until we put in a system that will benefit the people of Zimbabwe.
The example that was given by Hon. Biti, of Botswana – it is for all of us to see. In the early 80s, someone would celebrate to come to Zimbabwe from Botswana and buy some things like shoes from Bata and linen from Merlin in Bulawayo, but this is not the case anymore. They do not even want to see us in Botswana. This is because they have managed to look after their resources and they are accountable to the people of Botswana. That is why a lot of people are now talking about the Bill which will never come. I do not know whether I will be there to see it in my lifetime but who is benefitting the current Bill for them to feel so comfortable with a Bill that was left by Ian Smith? Why can we not have a new Bill? That is one other area – excessive industries are transparency initiative that I think it is very important.
Lastly, the cadastral system - who tells the other what he has? Is it us as Zimbabwe or the investor? Until we have a system where we can say this is the deposits we have in this particular area. There is no way we can maximise on our resources to wait for an investor to come and do the surveying and the like and then determines what is underground and say, let us go into a partnership. Will he ever disclose what exactly is underground? That will never happen. I think a budget is needed for us to ensure that as Zimbabwe we know and understand where our resources are. As Zimbabwe we also have areas that we can say for this particular period we are reserving for the future generation, otherwise we are mortgaging the entire Zimbabwe today leaving nothing for the future generations.
I thank Hon. Mkaratigwa and Hon. Madhuku who seconded for bringing this debate to the House. It is commendable that the Minister of Finance has been in the House and listened to the debate, he will take it up with Cabinet. Looking at the Minister of Finance, we are talking of almost a Prime Minister. The Minister of Finance is responsible for all our resources. Because of that, he has an important job to do. I think this particular debate is a wake-up call for the Minister of Finance because his own credibility hinges on what we are talking about here. The legacy he is going to leave as a Minister depends on what we are talking about. I hope he would also want to leave a situation where people will always say this is what Hon. Mthuli Ncube left for this country. I thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am not going to say much. I want to thank the Chairperson, Hon. Mkaratigwa and Hon. Madhuku for bringing the report to the House. I did not want to stand up and speak but there is something which touched me the most. It took zeal to see that something has happened here. There are people who are being abused. They are beaten and some of them are being chased away by those who claim that the place belongs to them. When all this happens, there are women and children who are involved because people will be relocated from their homes, which means women and children suffer.
I want to thank ZELA and Mr. Moyo, through the Chair Hon Mkaratigwa who embarked on site visits as a Committee to see the situation on the ground. I want to leave a question to this august House, Committee and to all Hon Members. Only few areas were visited and we heard about their challenges but what about other areas not visited which constitute the greater percentage? We hear incidents happening at mines every day. In English they say it is an eye opener. It is very crucial Hon Speaker, to see that all areas are visited so that we know what is happening there. I want to thank him for it opened our minds and it showed that they are dedicated because the moment they heard about it they rushed there to see and come up with a report. I want to thank them.
Secondly Madam Speaker, I see that in his report he also talked about the rights of workers which are being violated. He said at Fidelity Printers, I am happy that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. Ncube is here. Fidelity Printers has a lot of things to do with Ministry of Finance. There is need for thorough investigations to see which human rights are being violated. It must not end on investigation but we must come up with a probe which helps to know what is really happening and how many people are affected. There are some people who opt to resign if their rights are violated. There are also some who are being abused and decide to keep quiet. Some are failing to do their work. We want all these issues to be addressed and resolved. We must see that workers rights which are being violated at Fidelity Printers and some other mining companies are resolved before things go out of hand. Hon Biti and the Chairperson of the Committee have already spoken about that. Many mining companies do not do social responsibility. In some areas there is nothing, even water. Zimplats is a good example. You see that there is nothing which was done there. When you are coming from Kadoma, you see lights to show that there is a big company there but across the road where vendors operate, there is nothing even a shade to hide in cases of rains or sunlight but there is a company called Zimplats. There are many things we expect these companies to do since they are mining minerals in these areas. These companies must help us as Zimbabweans because the minerals they are mining belong to Zimbabweans.
Madam Speaker, we are talking about rights of workers, issues of women and children on how they stay in different areas and their rights in terms of their social lives. When we seek for findings, the
Committees for Labour, Justice and Gender must work together with the Mines Committee to investigate other areas that were not investigated. If we continue to focus on one angle, we will miss a lot of things which need to be addressed as tabled in the report from the Mines Committee.
Lastly Madam Speaker, what has been said in the report tabled by Hon Mkaratigwa, those who are beating people and chasing away villagers in their homes saying the area belong to them must be dealt with. They must face the full wrath of law so that others will not repeat the same thing. I thank you for giving me this opportunity Madam Speaker.
(v)*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to add my voice on the debate of the on Mines Report. There is massive destruction of the environment and natural resources. This negatively has an impact on people living in these areas. At the same time people in these areas do not benefit anything. When we went around to places like Rushinga, companies mine and leave open pits. These holes are left open and during the rainy season they get filled with water. Livestock fall into these pits. Minerals are finite resources and it is my view that in the long run, Parliament is going to become a laughing stock and be called a toothless bulldog which could not deal with issues that were happening. What is happening in Rushinga is what is happening in Uzumba, Maramba, Pfungwe and all over the country. After 20 years you may not have any country to talk about. They say a stitch in time saves nine; we should timeously attend to these leakages and all these problems.
The borders should be properly secured to curb the leakages because Zimbabwe is losing a lot of revenue. We should have laws to ensure that those who come to mine our resources will be able to sustain us into the future because what we are mining is a finite resource. The mining that is being done in Zimbabwe and the minerals that we have – is it contributing to the development of Zimbabwe. There is siltation and infrastructure is being destroyed and something should be done
The Executive and Parliament should ensure that we look after our heritage. The country has fauna and flora, it has rivers and mountains. These should be conserved so that we will not become a laughing stock and go down as the Parliament where Hon. Nyabani was a member and did not do anything to write home about and ensuring that the resources are conserved for the future generations. I thank you.
(v)HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to salute the petitioners who brought this very important petition and the
Committee led by Hon. Mkaratigwa for interrogating this petition and asking people their views concerning this very important issue on the development and welfare of our people. However, if it is not handled well, mining can also be a source of disaster for our environment, livelihoods and health as a people. It is therefore very important that we do mining with enough checks in terms of sustainability. Are the people mining bringing value to our people or just digging and creating pits that are not going to be filled? If we do not have those checks in place, we are going to be poorer after decades of people extracting our minerals.
Our provincial mining commissioners are a very corrupt lot. They should be facilitating for those who want to be miners but they are creating conflict everywhere. They are part of the same people who constitute the machete gangs and korokozas, yet they are supposed to give guidance on how our Minerals Act operates. They are involved in shoddy mining deals. I think we need laws that will protect those who really want to be miners.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: We cannot hear you Hon. Togarepi.
HON. TOGAREPI: I will end here if I am no longer audible.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Togarepi.
HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you Madam Speaker. First of all I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Mines Committee for their report and for taking into consideration the issues raised by the petitioners. Our grandchildren are going to be spitting on our graves because they are going to be reading from history books that Zimbabwe was a very rich country, endowed with enormous mineral resources and yet they will find nothing. All they will see are just holes. I am saying this so that we understand that minerals are God-given and they are supposed to benefit every Zimbabwean. As we speak right now, the majority of Zimbabweans will never see or touch gold, diamonds or platinum, but they can only see these from the built roads Madam Speaker. People are abused Madam Speaker from clinics, schools and hospitals but to go areas where we have got these big mines and see what is happening, the situation is pathetic. These people are mining these minerals and yet there is absolutely nothing that goes to show that they are mining platinum, gold and diamond in those areas. Go to Chiadzwa right now and see what is happening, is there any development in Chiadzwa, there is absolutely nothing but where is the diamond? Where is the money from diamond going, where is the money from gold going?
Madam Speaker, I am saying these things so that we understand that these mines which are operational must understand that at the end of the day, they are supposed to plough back to the communities through social corporate responsibility and these are some of the issues which are supposed to be looked into when this new law comes into this Parliament so that the Minister understands that these minerals are supposed to benefit the communities.
Our unemployment rate is very high right now and yet we are exporting jobs to other countries. We are exporting our minerals in raw form and when they get to those countries, jobs are created in those countries and yet our own people here do not have jobs. This Act must address the job creation in this country and that this business of exporting jobs Madam Speaker comes to a stop, this is what other Hon.
Members were talking about that we are supposed to value add our minerals. We are not supposed to export our minerals in raw form. They gave an example of platinum, it comes out with 10 other minerals and yet we are selling it in raw form, yet we will be getting gold, palladium, radium but we are just selling it in raw form and we are getting nothing.
I would also talk about the issue which was raised by the Committee which has to do with mining claims for women. Women are given mining claims but when men realise that that mine has got a lot of gold, they then go around and start saying. “no, we made a mistake, this claim was already given to somebody and therefore we are withdrawing this claim from you”. Madam Speaker, this must come to a stop because I have heard of stories from women that their claims have been withdrawn because people realise that their mines have got a lot of gold. This must come to a stop because women also want to be big miners, just like any other person and they must be given that opportunity so that they also become big miners. I think women will perform better.
Women will make sure that their mines are making a lot of money, they will build schools, clinics, roads, sink boreholes for communities so that communities benefit.
I would like to propose that women be protected when it comes to mining because I do not think that women are getting enough protection, they are being harassed, left, right and centre. Madam Speaker, other colleagues spoke about the extractive industries transparency initiatives which are the global standard for the good governance of mineral resources. I think as Zimbabwe, it is important that we belong to the extractive industry’s transparency initiatives. This is going to assist us because there is going to be transparency in the issuance of claims like I was saying that women are being discriminated when it comes to issuance of claims. Women are applying for claims but most of them do not get those claims, I am one of those that applied two years ago, it took a lot of time for me to get these claims. There must be transparency in the issuance of claims, mining of our minerals so that we know how much has been mined, how many kilograms of gold has been mined, how many karats of diamond has been mined? How many tonnes of platinum has been mined and at the end of the day we will also know there is going to be transparency in the selling of these minerals.
Right now there is no transparency in the mining sector; people are giving wrong information of what they are mining like if they mine 1kg of gold they will tell you that they mined 300grams of gold. So it is important to know how much they have mined and it is also important that we know how much that platinum, gold and diamonds have been sold for so that that money is ploughed back to the communities. Like I said, these minerals are God given, they were given to every Zimbabwean and do not belong to foreigners or to a few individuals, they belong to every Zimbabwean. Therefore our minerals are supposed to benefit every Zimbabwean. There is a new law which is supposed to come right now, we cannot rely on the old law, and we need to come up with a new law which is going to ensure that our God given minerals benefit every Zimbabwe. Right now instead of our minerals giving us and communities joy, they are giving communities problems, dust and other problems as highlighted by the Chairperson.
We want these minerals to give people joy, we want people to enjoy and say yes, this is what we have as a country and this is what we have benefited from our minerals and this can only happen if as a country we become firm in our laws. We want laws which are very firm, strict and which are going to protect our minerals and also protect our people because when our minerals are protected, our people will be protected because at the end of the day, they are the ones who are going to benefit from those minerals. I rest my case Madam Speaker.
HON. RTD. BRG. GEN. MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much
Madam Speaker. I just want to start by thanking the Chairman of the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development Hon. Mkaratigwa, seconded by Hon. Madhuku for bringing this very important report to Parliament. Most of the issues that I was going to touch on have been covered well by other contributors. I just want to highlight one or two issues relating to the cost benefit analysis or the cost of mining to other sector of the economy. This country tends to celebrate the contribution of mining to the DGP and celebrates the contribution of small scale artisanal miners, illegal miners as well; surprisingly, when they are known to be breaking the law, but they are celebrated for bringing so much gold into the fiscus.
It turns to turn a blind eye on the cost that this sector is incurring to other sectors. Starting with the environment - the environment degradation, the pollution they are causing to the environment. The pits that they cause to the communities, farms and other users of the land, I will give an example. In 2020, I lost 31 herd of cattle into mining pits. No compensation whatsoever from anybody and nobody is talking about it; talking of just one farmer. Imagine if there were 100 farmers like that, how much we are losing in terms of livestock or wild life falling into pits that nobody is taking responsibility for? Nobody is being held accountable for them. We are saying even if Government position is that miners must cover their pits, who is ensuring that those pits are covered, nobody. Even if they were to be charged levies for destroying the environment, where does that money go, does it go back to the individual farmers, to the community, rural district council? Nothing happens. It is one cost just to the rest of the other sectors. Look at the rivers that have been destroyed, dams silted, roads destroyed and they are not contributing anything and nobody is holding them to account. The ability of the security sector to enforce laws as far as mining is concerned is virtually at a very low level. In fact, if I would rank it on a scale of one to ten, it is maybe at 0.5% enforcement because everybody is turning a blind eye. The gold panners wreak havoc in communities – violence, crisscrossing people’s properties, cutting fences, destroying the environment, littering and human faeces all over the place. We cannot talk of even the mercury, things that we cannot even quantify the damage that it is doing to livestock and human beings and we are turning a blind eye. I think perhaps in generations to come, the toll will be very high on the environment, degradation or the damage that mining has done to the other sectors.
Then you look at the security of our minerals. Many of our Hon. Members have touched on these leakages and so forth. As a country we seem not to even have the capability to monitor what is there. In some other countries, seeing or touching a diamond is a serious offence but in this country, everybody seems to think that you can just get it and get away with it without anybody worrying. You cannot do the things that you do in this country in handling of minerals in countries like Botswana – handling of diamonds and gold, even daring to go to an airport carrying kilogrammes of gold because our systems are just not strong enough or developed enough to enforce what we extract and how we handle those minerals.
So this law, if it was first crafted in 1923 and perhaps amended in 1961, it is too old for it to be used currently in this modern era. It is high time it was revamped. Communities are deprived of what is basically theirs but I will not belabour this because so many of my previous colleagues have talked about it but I am saying communities are crying for development and yet their money or their resources are being taken away, extracted and sent to other countries to develop other countries.
Communities are going without schools, education and health and the money is being used to develop other countries in Europe, America, China and India. Even the cost that mining brings to the society, in terms of accidents, it is not the miners, illegal miners, or mining sector that pays for that. When CPU is activated, it is the whole nation that contributes resources, fuel, time and everything to recover the bodies of people that would have died there. The hospitals that treat these people when they get injured or when they are affected by pollution, who is paying that? It is the taxpayer who is not benefiting at all but the mining sector does not contribute to all that.
So I believe that it is time that mining was taxed appropriately and when this Bill comes to this House, the House should ensure that such issues are factored into the Bill so that mining really pays the price they should pay. I do not want to go on and on but it is an issue that is very close to our hearts and one wonders why it is taking this long for Government of this country or the Executive to bring this Bill to Parliament. Who is benefiting from this chaos, lost lives, accidents, pollution and this non development of our areas? When the situation is so chaotic we cannot be celebrating illegal things. As a country we need to bring this Bill to Parliament and have a law that will be helpful for
Zimbabweans and for generations to come. I rest my case Hon. Speaker.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker I would like to add my voice to the report tabled by Hon. Mkaratigwa seconded by Hon. Madhuku. My request Hon. Speaker is that on a daily basis the President of this country is on record as asking people to maintain the environment from degradation but this is falling on deaf ears. We must have laws that also look into the issues of artisanal miners and that the women and the youths should also be licenced and be given the mining licences. Those that have the money are given the licences. There are those that have been waiting to get permits since 2016 but there are those that come today and they are given. Where I come from in Mashonaland Central they will tell you that they already are issued with the mining claim even if you have been there for quite some time. So there is need for a law that puts an end to this chaotic allocation of mines.
When diamonds were first discovered and before those companies came to mine, we observed that communities were able to build houses and it was self evident that the proceeds from diamonds were now improving the lives of the community in Mutare, but at the moment, people are now suffering. There should be a law that puts a stop to those people that take advantage of others and that those that mine gold should follow stringent laws that are laid down by the Government so that they will be a stop to leakages. That is what I have decided to add to this report. The law should come as quickly as possible so that communities do not continue to suffer. I thank you Madam Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I move that the
debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 23rd February, 2021
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the House adjourned at Four Minutes to Five o’clock pm until Tuesday, 23rd February, 2021.