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SENATE HANSARD 26 JUNE 2024 VOL 33 NO 60

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 26th June, 2024

The Senate met at Half–past Two o’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

         THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I would like to remind all Senators to put their phones on silent mode or better still switch them off.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. GOTORA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: I second.

        Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Judicial Service Commission for the Year 2023.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. GOTORA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 27th June, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the Year 2023.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. GOTORA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 27th June, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for the Year 2023.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. GOTORA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 27th June, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. GOTORA: Mr. President Sir, I move that Order of the Day Number 7 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REHABILITATION OF OPEN MINES BY ARTISANAL MINERS

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for artisanal miners to rehabilitate open mines.

Question again proposed.

There having been no Senators standing to debate.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senators, you are paid to debate. Hon. Senator Moyo moved a motion.

HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Mr. President. I wish to rise to contribute to this important motion that Hon. Senator Solani Moyo moved in this august House. Mr. President Sir, it is a fact that Zimbabwe is endowed with so many minerals. In our study of geology years back, we were told that Zimbabwe is home to not less than 63 minerals, ranging from minerals of passion such as gems and diamonds and many more, they are awash in this country. In fact, we are so gifted that in some areas, you go out to weed in your field and come out with a 100 carat diamond. We are so gifted that if you dig even here where we are, as long as you have got sufficient energy, you will come across something valuable down there. Zimbabwe is so well gifted with these minerals.

I was speaking to some gentlemen when I went to Paris sometime. I saw one of the townhalls, the pillars decorated with gold beautifully and this person was not shy to tell me that this gold was from Kwekwe. I am just emphasing the gift and the natural endowment that this country has in the manner of minerals. Today, we are home to the largest deposits in the world of iron ore at Manhize. I believe 30 billion tonnes of ore sitting in the belly of our land at Manhize. We are gifted. We have got the energy minerals, your coal, the uranium, we have got lithium, platinum, rhodium, chromium and all sorts of minerals compared to other nations where you perhaps have got just one mineral. By reason of the structure of how that mineral should benefit the country, the benefits are tangible now and also into the future for our children and grandchildren.

Indeed, Zimbabwe is well gifted with a quantity of minerals which could be a pedestal for the development of the country for building beautiful and lasting infrastructure for our progeny and all sorts of things anchoring sustainable development into the future. The Midlands where I come from and indeed, this part of the world as well, lies on the Great Dyke which is a backbone which is full of minerals. One of the minerals we are talking of is chrome. We have got chrome dug up in the Mberengwa area, all the way through to Zvishavane and up here all the way to Mashonaland West.

The saddest thing that we see and this is what Hon. Senator Moyo emphasises; is that the people who come down here to invest in our minerals do not care about the footprint they leave. They open up the belly of the earth in Zvishavane and Shurugwi and they do not sow it back after taking up all the chrome. It is so sad that you see destruction of the environment without any responsibility at all. It is important that as people come through to invest in these gifts that we got from the Almighty which are resident in our country, that they stick to issues of responsible mining. They mine yes, but they must return. They must take care of the environment for the future. It is not just the chrome, there is also gold, black granite; what remains after extraction of these precious minerals is Zimbabwe injured without any care.  They take the resources and depart.  I think as a House and as a nation, we must begin to think about enforcing or putting together rules that, yes, we agree people can come in and invest, but they must do that with responsibility.

          Let us look at job creation.  I had the opportunity to visit Manhize.  Out there behind the hills, there is a sprawling new village that is anchored on our iron ore.  Thousands of people employed there in a very sorry state.  Indeed, very sad that they do not seem to care about those lowly employees.  You just need to pay a visit there and see.  Yes, it is fine, our resources will eventually benefit us, but I think there is need for the investors to stick to good practice regarding taking care of employees. 

We also talked about the diamonds, gold, the exploitation of these and value addition should create abundant employment for the nation.  If you look at ZISCO in Redcliff and ZIMASCO in Mbizo, these places are like 15 km apart.  The iron that was made at ZISCO and chrome that was made 20 km away are raw materials for a precious product called stainless steel.  You combine steel and ferro chrome, you make stainless steel which when you mix these dyes, it is like 20 times/30 times the value of the two separate components, which are made here exported to maybe Germany and Japan. They mix those two and send them back here at 20/30 times the value of the two separate minerals.

          These investors should be encouraged, in fact obliged to make sure that they do the value addition locally so that people can benefit good jobs and that we can create employment.  We would not have a problem of unemployment in this country.  Employment creation through value addition and beneficiation should be a thrust that we must support and push for so that people can benefit.

          The other side of the benefit is infrastructure development.  I think there has to be a portion from the returns of exploitation of these endowment towards defined infrastructure development, perhaps roads, dams, housing, power plants, et cetera so that there is a future as these resources are not there ad infinitum.  They are exhausted, we should be able to see them through the infrastructure built, based on the resources obtained from here.  So value addition and infrastructure development are very key issues around how people can benefit from the resources that were God-given to us.

          Mr. President, I notice that in this debate, Senator Moyo talked strongly about direct benefits, direct ownership of the resources and direct participation in the companies that exploit our resources.  I may ask, in the billion-dollar investment at Manhize, how many shares are owned by locals?  What benefits are locals getting aside from the menial employment?  What benefits are the quid proquo of the ugly scene that we will see, the holes and dongas that we will eventually see as remnants of the activities of the exploiters of this mineral resource?  Where is our pride?  Is our pride in just letting the foreigners come here, exploit everything, run away with the soup and cause us to remain with the residues that are not important? 

          I think this is the spirit of the motion that people that exploit resources should do that responsibly. They must take care of the environment.  They must make sure that people locally are benefiting directly.  Of course, they will pay tax but we all know about issues of taxes and how accounting packages depress the profits and eventually diminish the dividends that come to the people.  Mr. President, we are endowed with these resources and it is up to us to put together rules that make sure that our environment benefit and that make sure that the people of Zimbabwe benefit the most.  Let us not listen and be intimidated by big capital.  If they need lithium, they will come to Zimbabwe.  If they need pollucite which you find only in Zimbabwe and perhaps in Canada, they will eventually come.  Let us not be cowed down by the loud voices and the dictatorship of capital.  We own these things and they must benefit us.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. GOTORA:  Thank you Hon. President Sir.  I would like to add my voice on this motion moved by Hon. Senator Moyo.  I do not want to speak with a bias towards artisanal miners.  I would like to talk in general about mining of resources in this country, artisanal or no artisanal.  In this country, we have laws that we were supposed to be using so that the problem raised by Hon. Senator Moyo may not persist.  South Africa copied from Zimbabwe the laws of rehabilitating land in Kimberley, Johannesburg.  When diamond and gold were mined in South Africa, they just left open pits.  Like when you go to Chivhu there is a pit Dhorongo, where there is a huge pit where some of the freedom fighters were being thrown.  Mining started a long time ago, but we have laws.  The first law is the Mines and Minerals Act which I think must be strengthened but at the same time, if you look at the Mines and Minerals Act, there are engineers and mining inspectors.  I do not know what they are inspecting because that is the job they are paid for, inspecting wherever there is mining, be it a big company or artisanal mining.  There are mining engineers that are supposed to be inspecting every mine.  They are supposed to be inspecting; the first thing is to demarcate the boundaries of the mine and secondly, the mining process itself, how it is going on. 

          Mr. President, I cannot talk about the minerals that are found in this country, there are so many of them, we all know them.  I flew on a plane to Lubumbashi when I was going to Rwanda with a certain person who told me that the only place to invest in terms of mining is Zimbabwe because you find all the minerals.  What I am talking about is the Mines and Minerals Act itself, we must amend that law or do away with it altogether.  The second law is on the Environment Management Act which combines 32 separate pieces of laws which were thrown all over various ministries, but those 32 pieces of legislation now constitute one law which we now call EMA.  EMA is supposed to be inspecting the environment before mining actually commences and asks you what you are going to do in terms of land reclamation after mining.  I do not know what is happening? 

          The problem with EMA is that according to its structure, there are only two people per district, one officer and one office orderly.  There is nothing they can do.  Most of the EMA people are here in Harare, they do not even know where Guruve is yet there are two people in Guruve.  They may not know where Tsholotsho is.  Those are the people that I say must use the law.  The other thing is, our local authorities have power, the rural district councils have 64 powers, and the urban councils have 54 powers that they have.  I do not know where they are using them so that this problem of mining may be rectified.  It happens even in urban areas; in Kwekwe in the middle of the city, a school collapsed after mining activities were done, yet the local authorities have power to deal with that and they were supposed to stop the menace.  Some of the roads that were used, I travelled from Mutasa recently, if you see mining activities just closeby the road, one day Mr. President, we will hear that you fell into a pit due to mining activities. 

          Mr. President, they are mining on both sides of the road yet we have local authorities.  I do not know where the problem is.  There is the Public Health Act that is also supposed to ensure the protection of people’s health.  They are supposed to ensure that people’s health is protected and ensure that people are not prone to diseases like bilharzia and mosquitoes, yet no one is looking into that.  So, we come back to the question, what are we supposed to do?  According to me, I think we should legislate a law about corporate social responsibility so that it does not end in talking, but it must be implemented.  If you go to Uzumba, Nyadire and other areas, there is no more land, but there are only pits because there are a lot of minerals being extracted to Venice in Itally, they do not throw away anything and they use everything, the dust and the stone itself. 

          Mr. President, if you go to Dar-es-Salaam Hotel, if you see it today, it is made out of stones from Zimbabwe, yet there is no corporate social responsibility.  Why do we not legislate it and make it a law instead of crying about people extracting our minerals and leaving nothing to show for it.  We must enact a law on corporate social responsibility to ensure that anyone who mines will be forced to fill up the pit and ensure that they also construct social infrastructure like roads or schools in line with the corporate social responsibility. 

          Mr. President, all the minerals that we have in this country, we may end up not even taxing our people through the income tax because corporate social responsibility on its own can give us revenue.  If you go everywhere, be it Mount Darwin or Chirumanzu, you find the same problem.  All those people should be forced to undertake corporate social responsibility instead of corporate tax, we force them to construct clinics, dip tanks, procure dyalisis machines, or whatever including everything that we do not have.  That should be an instruction to anyone mining, big or small mine. We should put such a law on corporate social responsibility.  If you go to Brazil, you find that law because there were a lot of artisanal miners.  As soon as that law was put in place, their taxes are now low.  If you go to Nyaminyami, I think it is the only local authority that does not charge taxes because they are earning their revenue from wildlife.  If a local authority can run from such endevours, what about corporate social responsibility?  They can actually build hospitals or ensure that we get medication. If we increase tax Mr. President, there will be an outcry again, but remember we are the second highest taxed nation in the world after Israel.  

          Mr. President, if we keep on increasing taxes, it does not work.  Let us enact a corporate social responsibility Act. For anyone who may want to undertake an activity, be it mining or  timber, if they fulffil corporate social responsibility, our country may develop, all the crying that is going on right now will stop.  I know that all the Members here have various problems, but we need to come up with solutions.  We suggest that diamonds should be extracted from Marange and polished here in Harare.  There will be no problem, but the problem is where those minerals are coming from. This is my opinion that I would like to add on this debate.  Hon. Sen. Moyo said the foreigners are the ones who are doing that, even ourselves as locals we are doing that as well, just mining and not reclaiming the pits.  We need to ensure that we solve the problem that we continuously cry over.  People out there in the rural areas are looking up to us to ensure that we solve this problem and ensure that the roads are maintained out of corporate social responsibility.  These small companies that we find in this country, if we increase tax on them, they will close but if we put corporate social responsibility, it will work.  I thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN.  MBOHWA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate.  I would like to add my opinion on this motion raised by Hon. Senator Moyo on Artisanal Miners.  Mr. President, the issue of minerals in this country touches us, especially as women.  Indeed we know that when you face a problem, even if you are given a dollar, you celebrate.  Zimbabwe suffered and that is a well-known issue.  I said that in another conversation yesterday that Zimbabwe was a serious patient to the extent that no one thought that patient would wake up.  For us to wake up or to rise again, it means we had to proffer solutions or use any measures which ensure that we get on our feet.  Once the patient recovers, you then start considering other nutrients to ensure that the person is further strengthened.   That is where the Second Republic or the new dispensation has taken us to.  We are now considering Zimbabwe like a running person after having risen from a desperate state.  We were not considering a lot of conditions because we were desperate for help.  The thinking was as long as we are getting something, so investors came and did all sorts of things such as mining and just leaving. Some of the laws were not followed for fear that the investors would avoid investing in Zimbabwe but at the stage where we are now, we are supposed to start talking as people who own their resources.  The time for celebrating any small investment considering where His Excellency has taken us to must come to an end. 

If only my opinion would be considered, we should get to a state where if an investor for example goes to Mberengwa, Ngungumbane, first of all, that investor must sit down with the community and Chief Ngungumbane so that the community states what they want.  I remember there were community shares and sometimes people are afraid that we may chase away investors but right now, let us empower the community to ensure that they are involved in the negotiation process.  If you go to Zvishavane for example, you will find a lot of open pits and you see cattle roaming about and you wonder what is going to happen in 10 years time.  My request is the community projects empowerment or shareholding must be brought back so that they are empowered to be part of the negotiation process and say their views that if you open a pit, you must close it.  Right now they are not involved in the negotiation process of the initial stage.  Who are you going to ask?  When they leave, they just go and you have no one to ask.   Mr. President, we also wanted to ask though we are trying to uplift the country, we used to say anyone who sees any mineral anywhere should start mining, but let us say that we did that because we were trying to resuscitate the economy.  However, right now, let us group them so that they are empowered and given equipment where they start mining on legal areas and on areas where they will not endanger the communities.  We give EMA the responsibility to ensure that where they are working, it is allowed and it is okay for the environment.  EMA is just watching as mining is happening everywhere.  Pits are being opened and roads are being undermined.  Who is going to inform the President because the one who is supposed to be watching is just seated?   If EMA is not good enough, let us ensure that the communities help them to bring sanity.  Let us ensure that anyone who wants to venture into mining is fully equipped because there are a lot of children dying out there because they just venture into mining without full equipment.  In all the areas where mining is taking place, we must ensure that there are laws that stop people from going there.  The minerals that we have Mr. President, I think the whole world, the whole earth, there is no country that is as rich as Zimbabwe.  In every corner of this country, somebody said even if you were to start digging right here, you will not go deep down without picking up any mineral, be it in our farms, that is how blessed and wealthy Zimbabwe is.  We are saying we now have a listening President who accepts our requests.  We hereby request that the laws be aligned.  Those who are knowledgeable about the laws referred to the Mines and Mineral Act.  Yes, indeed we need to correct those laws. 

I also would like to speak about women artisanal miners. Even if it was not specified in the motion but since our bias is towards women,  we would like to say as women, we must also be considered in mining. If a woman is involved in mining, they will not run away to another area.  They stay at home.  If you empower women, you preserve government money.  Although men are good, they start coming up with illegal means of selling minerals.  So we are saying most of the money meant for mining should be given to women.  Most of the money meant to procure machines should also be given to women.  Let us have laws to ensure that where there are disputes women are protected. 

          Mr. President, I would like to thank His Excellency, for where this mining has taken us so far.  Although we are under sanctions, they try by all means and despite the sanctions, our country looks as if there are no sanctions.  It is also our responsibility as Zimbabweans to ensure that we preserve that wealth.  Our heads are full of corruption and we do not seem to know what is good or bad in building our country positively.  We must ensure that we change that mindset of self-enrichment as individuals and put the interest of the country forward. 

As I round up, I would like to say let us give them the conditions that we want and satisfy our citizens.  The dialysis machines that we are wishing for - we can give them as a condition for example in Mberengwa where there is lithium.  They can implement that.  Yes, we want investors, but where the Second dispensation has taken us, we are at a level where we can be firm and negotiate what we want because we are no longer in a desperate situation.  I thank you Hon. President for the time you have afforded me.

          +HON. SEN. RITA NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate. I will not say much but I have a few words pertaining this motion. I would like to thank Hon. Senator Moyo for this motion regarding our mineral resources. Yes, I agree with the previous Hon. Member who highlighted the fact that there is no country which is as wealthy as Zimbabwe in terms of mineral resources. This country is wealthy such that if it was well managed, the challenges we are facing would not be there.

          I will focus more on policies. Yes, the previous speaker indicated that we need to enact laws but what is it that makes us fail to follow those policies that are there. We do have policies but what is happening is that we are going against those laws. For example, the previous Hon. Member talked about by-laws whereby she encouraged the local authorities to ensure that these laws are followed. I will focus more on Bulawayo City where drinking water is coming from areas that have so many pits that have been left open by these artisanal miners.

          If it is to rain in this city, like what happened with Cyclone Idai, Bulawayo will never get enough water because of these abandoned pits. There is absolutely nothing that is happening to protect people from this city. Some of us stayed in Bulawayo for about 3 weeks without water because of these pits that were left unattended by artisanal miners. There is a law prohibiting artisanal miners from digging the land but these artisanal miners continue to leave these pits unfilled.

We know that people in Zimbabwe are suffering, but in their suffering, they have been left to do things as they wish. All of us are suffering including Members in this august House.  If we continue to disobey our laws and ignore our duty of telling people what our laws require us to do, then we will have challenges. These artisanal miners whenever they get their gold, they sell it at lower rates to those with big cars. When these artisanal miners sell their gold to wherever they sell it, they pay little then those with big cars are the ones sending them to go and mine and once they have mined their gold, they come after it at a cheaper price.

We need to ensure that these laws that have been enacted are fully operational and are followed accordingly because without enforcing them, we will continue to write these laws every now and then.

Let me also focus on those that are mining from community mines. For example, in Silobela where I come from, there are so many mines. There is one mine which is operating in that area but the community is not benefiting from it.  When I am talking of certain issues, we need to ensure that we are telling the truth.

Mr. President my plea is that these areas which have pits that have been left uncovered should be protected by soldiers and police officers because these areas are big and they require protection from many people. Council of course is trying to ensure that this place is protected but the area is big. There is not enough protection. In addition, laws need to be enforced. One Hon. Member indicated that there is need to enforce laws to ensure that these pits are filled up and the miners needs to refurbish the roads they are using. The challenge is that I am doubtful that the laws will be followed because we are used to ignoring the stated laws in our country. We have always ignored current laws.

I am from Silobela and I use Nkayi Road. We have two mines but that road is not being refurbished. You can travel for about 200km for 10 hours, yet we have two mines that are making money and they have been operational for quite a long time. There is absolutely nothing that is benefiting the community.

My plea is that if these laws are to be enacted. We need to ensure that communities are benefiting and roads are refurbished. I wonder which roads they are using because the roads are in a bad state. With these few words, I would like to support this motion moved by Hon. Senator Moyo. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Senator Moyo for the motion that was brought into this Senate about artisanal mining. This is a very important motion because it touches on the wealth of the country as well as environmental management conservation, especially referring to open pits and any other things that maybe disturbed by those activities. Mr. President Sir, I would want to say, anyone who wants to venture into mining must ensure that they reclaim the area where they will be mining. This is because we realise that as soon as they finish extracting the minerals, some of them do not consider rehabilitating the environment. They should consider that the area may endanger human beings or their livestock as most of them just extract minerals and do not cover the pits.

There are already existing talks in the country about preservation of the environment and it is under the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), under the Ministry of Environment. I would like to say EMA must be adequately equipped, including staffing and giving them required vehicles so that they the maybe able to move around and monitor all the areas where mining activities are taking place.  Nobody goes into mining without being given the conditions of land reclamation and ensure that wherever you carry out the activities you preserve the surrounding environment.

EMA must be empowered with arresting powers. They should arrest anyone who violates the laws, those who do not cover their pits as well as just digging everywhere. People sometimes lose their livestock as they fall into those pits trying to graze because those who venture into mining are only after the minerals. They do not care about what will happen to those remaining into the area.

 Secondly, the Government should help the artisanal miners, especially youth and women as alluded to by Hon. Senator Mbohwa. They must be given licences and also be provided with adequate equipment to ensure that after extracting minerals, they can then cover those pits to ensure that the surrounding environment is reclaimed. In addition, our Government should teach our children vocational skills such as mining and not just teach them academics where they only consider looking for employment. They must prioritise creating jobs.

If we look on social media, the children from China are taught to make clothes, repair radios and all those vocational skills but in this country, the emphasis is on making someone who will end up looking for employment. The children must be taught about minerals at school and they must be taught about the mining activities themselves to ensure that they are empowered wherever they are. Mr. President, I am saying the Government must help us to ensure that women and youth are taught vocational skills such as mining so that they also benefit from mining activities.  Mining should not be seen as if it is only for foreigners. Foreigners will come, extract the minerals and develop their own countries but if it is a local person, they develop their communities and create employment for locals.

They construct shops and build a lot of things that will benefit the Zimbabweans. I am saying Mr. President, that must be emphasised in our women and children to ensure that they are taught vocational skills that are essential in their lives. I also would like to talk about value addition on minerals.

Let us not export our minerals in raw form. Let us try by all means to do value addition of these minerals in this country. It might take time but let us ensure that we work on it. For example, if it is about gold, let us make jewelry or such value-added items. Let us use a lot of money to import all those machines that we may use to value-add our minerals.  For instance, we may focus on gold alone and ensure that we make items or goods from gold until we come up with factories that manufacture goods from it, be it household utensils or jewelry. Let us ensure that we make those goods in this country instead of exporting them in their raw form because we do not get much returns. After exporting it in raw form, we are going to import rings from gold.

Right now, we understand that in America, where they make their USD money, they preserve it using gold yet they do not have gold but they get it from us. I also like to applaud the President who brought up a good programme where we understand that gold is being preserved from the Reserve Bank. It is giving strength to ZiG, our money and at least we now understand and appreciate that by keeping our gold, it strengthens our currency.

I am saying, we should have factories and we should not export them in raw form. We end up importing goods that are made from our raw resources at a higher price. We sell those items at lower prices, but we end up buying the goods at a higher price. So, what I am saying to our Government is, let us ensure that we focus on exporting goods to develop the country. When they come here, they must not extract our minerals at a low value. There are areas like Chiadzwa and Marange, for many years, diamonds have been extracted, but the roads there are not even tarred yet trucks are busy ferrying those goods. However, the people in that area suffer when they travel because nothing has been constructed or built. There is no industrialisation, not even a town.

If you go to Marange, it is still remote. I would like to support the previous speaker who proffered that we had community share programmes that were led by the traditional leaders and communities. That programme must be restored to ensure that local people benefit. In that way, schools and clinics may be built because local authorities indeed want to ensure that their areas are developed. In Masvingo, Bikita minerals, they are busy extracting minerals and exporting them, but locals suffer and they do not get clinics or even access to water yet they make millions. The miners are making millions out of that and they fail to just sink a borehole that may cost even 2 000 from the millions they make. So, I am saying, those community share ownership schemes should be restored to ensure that our people benefit because we are looking at vision 2030 that talks of upper middle income economy to our people. That vision should be restored to ensure that they uplift people`s livelihoods by 2030. The livelihoods of our people will be better. I thank Hon. Senator Moyo for bringing that motion. We expect the Minister of Mines to come and respond and explain to us, what Government policy is, that supports the vision of the President and Vision 2030 to ensure that people`s livelihoods are improved. Thank you.

          ^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words on this motion. I would like to thank Hon. Senator Moyo who brought this motion on artisanal miners, which is an important motion. These artisanal miners are people like us but instead of them developing our country, they are not following our country`s laws in carrying out their mining duties. These artisanal miners have caused destruction on our land. Looking at the Gwanda highway or Kezi, with special focus on party offices, there are so many open pits that have been left by miners. This also affects the railway line which means that these artisanal miners are not concerned about the Government infrastructure that needs to be protected. This is a challenge because they are not even monitored by EMA.

If we continue to let them operate the same way they are operating, they will continue to destruct our environment. Looking at the operations of these artisanal miners, they are destroying our land because there is more soil erosion created by their activities which is why we continue to face the challenge of top soil being eroded into big rivers. We used to have certain rivers and dams that would go for a year without drying up, but not anymore. I will focus on Mazowe Dam. It is slowly facing siltation challenges because of these activities. We have a challenge as a country because of these artisanal miners. They move around carrying weapons like swords, stealing from people. Some of them attacking those who will be mining underground. Such activities need to be followed up to ensure that there is peace on our land. In addition to the artisanal miners` activities, their activities are greatly affecting our livestock and the people living in the communities that they operate from. They leave open pits in the areas they operate. Some of these pits collect water and these pits pause danger to our livestock. Some of them are even using dynamites and some of the animals die after drinking water containing cyanide, these animals die.  This in most cases we had a challenge in Hwange where we had animals that would be found dead after drinking such water.  This is because there is no close monitoring.  Therefore, our task as this august House as lawmakers, yes, we have done our part but there is no close monitoring in ensuring that these laws are strictly followed and followed accordingly. This is critical so as to protect our land. 

          Therefore, my plea is to ensure that hard penalties are put to those that are not following the stipulated laws.  Another issue, on the solution is that EMA including us legislators need to help each other in ensuring that these artisanal miners follow the laws in their operations, including ensuring that each time they are done with their mining activities, they cover the pit that they would have dug.  This will also assist our livestock which continue to die because of these open pits that are left behind.  With these open pits, for those that will travel overnight may be drunk some of them fall into these open pits.  As we speak, some of them are now disabled because of these challenges.  Let us all encourage each other to monitor these laws and also monitor the implementation of these laws and make follow-ups as to how these laws are implemented so as to ensure that the future of these artisanal miners does not endanger us in the communities.  I thank you. 

          *HON. SEN. ZINDI:  Thank you Mr. President, I rise to add my voice on this motion.  I would like to express my dissatisfaction, specially looking at how our country is struggling to raise money when we have a lot of minerals as alluded to earlier on by various speakers.  I am worried about that, why do we agree to live like slaves in our own country when we have so much wealth?  I consider things like the law that Hon. Senator Gotora refers to, the Mines and Minerals Act that was enacted in Rhodesia in 1961, the year that I was born.  I went to the liberation struggle, came back, the reason why we joined the liberation struggle is because we wanted to remove the oppression or anything that disadvantages the blacks who are the owners of this country or promotes the interests of the whites. 

          Mr. President, the whites enacted laws that promote their interests.  Why then are we failing with all the fallen heroes and their skeletons that we abundantly have, yet here we are, some of us are alive, the country is liberated.  The aim was to ensure that we live in accordance with our wealth.  My concern is why are we failing to amend that law to ensure that we fulfil the aim of the liberation struggle, what are we afraid of?  Let me proceed, I will not say the number of times that law came into this House and was not passed – what is stopping us that when an investor comes, as Government, we are promoting the interests of the majority.  Why can we not come up with a template to say if you want to invest in Mutasa to mine gold in Penhalonga - as Government we consider what are the main problems in that area.  We say there is no road at Rupinda, we put that on the template, Rupinda has no clinic a place close to the Mozambican Border, people have to walk to Hauna to the clinic, there is no bus because there is no road.  That is what the people want.  So on the template, we tell the investor, we give them as a condition that before you start anything else, you should construct all these infrastructures.  That must be a template for the whole country before we can talk about an investor extracting lithium, platinum or any mineral.

          Mr. President, let us give us as a condition that the locals must be involved in that process and ensure that we do not use a top down approach but bottom up approach. That is my opinion.  Furthermore, I am trying to support what Hon. Senator Gotora said that corporate social responsibility should be made into law.  That is what I think should be the solution.  In addition, every year, America invites African Presidents to the Africa-US Summit on Economic Development.  Russia does the same and China is doing the same.  We are all invited by one American President yet we are over 52 countries here in Africa.  If we are to united like that, we can tell them that we are the ones on demand because we have the minerals and we are the ones with the resources that the American President desires.  We are the ones who have an advantage.  So, we should unite as African Presidents to ensure that we go with one position and demand technology transfer as a condition so that we are able to process the minerals that we are summoned for in our numbers, 52 or 54 to go to America or China to attend an Economic Development Summit wherever we are summoned to go.  Let us put it as a condition as alluded to by Hon. Senator Mbohwa.  We are not desperate for anything because we are the ones on demand and according to me, nothing can stop us from doing that.

In addition, when we accept that investors come and extract gold or lithium, we are actually exporting various jobs.  Factories will be built to process that lithium and we will be able to make batteries from that lithium.  That is why I am saying African governments should unite to agree to that position of making it a precondition.  Whilst still on that issue, I would like to acknowledge that the President is trying his best on the issue of beneficiation.  I went to the Sabi Lithium Mine launch and the President said a plant will soon be completed that will manufacture batteries.  I really applaud that and that should be a template used for all other minerals.

 I am deeply concerned by platinum which has 10 other minerals within it.  These are gold, silver and more except for platinum.  It is however, being exported in its raw form and processed outside this country in South Africa.  Where the processing takes places, we have never heard the Financial Bill telling us the value of the processed platinum and the quantity and value of the other minerals in the platinum.  Silver is also the same, we have never heard about the value.  Once the minerals leave the country, they are gone for good.  Any other minerals found in that, we have never been given information.  As a country, we are not even informed.  We are losing so much in that way.

Let me conclude by saying that what I would like to encourage on this motion is that the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Mines should be involved in this debate in this august House because our minerals should benefit our country.  I thank you.

+HON. NDEBELE:  Thank you Mr. President for acknowledging me after standing up for quite some time without getting this opportunity to air my voice on this important motion regarding our minerals.  This motion moved by Hon. Senator Moyo speaks more on our country’s future because this is where all our wealth comes from.  This wealth is disturbed in many ways.  We have quite a number of learned people in our country who continue to go outside to foreign lands and we realise that they are the ones working hard in making those countries wealthy which they are supposed to be doing here in our country.  There is a challenge when it comes to mining in our country, especially in our different communities where there is more gold, more education and wealth.  Each time it is realised that there are more minerals underground.  I was once in this other area where I stayed for a long time and right now that area has not changed a bit.  It does not have a school yet this area is denied to have a school because this particular individual in that area says the land belongs to him.  He has been holding onto that land for eleven years to date.  This person also has a number of areas where he is mining from.  This individual is denying the council to erect a school in this particular area to the point that children in this area have to walk for long distances to the nearest school including those below the age of five. They are facing challenges getting to school. There are rape cases that they are faced with, yet this person continues to deny council the right to build a school in this area. There is quite a lot happening in our country which is making us suffer because of those people who are prioritising wealth that comes from minerals.

          Growing up, it was difficult to see gold. Our traditional leaders know that it was difficult to speak about our wealth. When one is speaking about this, there is need to ensure that our representatives follow all the stipulated laws to ensure that our land is protected. Right now, people are just leaving open pits all over and this is posing a challenge. We are seeing people that are coming from other countries who do not know the history of our freedom fighters who went to war to liberate us. We are seeing our wealth only benefiting those that are clever.

          I need to know how many mining claims one should get because there are people with 20 claims. There are very few people with two claims. How many is this particular individual having in their operations? There is nothing that is benefiting the youth or women from their mines. In most cases, they say they are sponsoring and how do you sponsor when you leave that mine with nothing? The money that is paid to these artisanal miners who go underground is not enough, yet the person who sponsors these youths gets away with a lot of money which does not go to Fidelity. It is illicitly taken out of the country.

          Most of the youths who are paid these little monies go to places where drugs are sold. From there, they go to these beer springs where they are involved in drug and substance abuse. Growing up, I never heard of drug and substance abuse. These youths who are given little monies become violent when they go back to their wives. Clearly how do we empower these children because artisanal mining in Zimbabwe has taken over? Why can these mines not be registered so that it is known how many mines are in a particular constituency and how many people are employed by a particular miner so that it helps the community.

          There is also need to share information with the rest of Zimbabweans so that they know and not to have one individual having more mines to the point of denying council the power to build a school. Each time they get to Government offices, they indicate that this mine belongs to this particular individual, you cannot do anything on this land. Children as old as 15 years are not going to school in this particular area, yet children are facing challenges like rape and school dropouts. Our land is full of graves and there is absolutely no place without a grave.

          Going back to our local authorities and traditional leaders, they need to inform us whether they have not encountered people’s skulls in these pits. Maybe they have encountered them, but it is not being said out. Because of such challenges, we are faced with drought whereby we are no longer receiving enough rains. Even if we receive rains, dams are no longer filling up because of these open pits that remain uncovered. These are the pits that collect water instead of having water trickling to dams. Even in our rural areas once it rains, you realise quite a number of cattle go missing because they would have fallen into these open pits that are left uncovered.

          We need to have legal mines that employ children and give them pay slips so that it is known that from such a time, children are at work. This encourages them to abstain from illegal mining. This will encourage them to work and they will know that by month end, they will be getting money. This will help them to move away from drugs and substance abuse.

          The reason why we are faced with a drought is because we have turned a number of fields into mines. We need to know the demarcation to our fields. Right now, we are staying in homes which are built on shaky ground. Some of them are falling in. We need to make sure that our traditional leaders unite with the rest of the stakeholders and come up with solutions that will help us tomorrow.

          For quite some time now, we have been faced with a challenge of teenagers that are giving birth and this has posed a challenge to girls. Very few times you realise that a teenager is impregnated by another boy. In most cases, a teenager is impregnated by a man because they are attracting them with money that is coming from these mines. This is now a challenge in our society. This is mainly emanating from unregistered mines which are the ones that are causing many challenges in our communities because there is no protection of the poor from those that are earning money illegally. Furthermore, my plea to traditional leaders is that for some that get enough money, they disregard their children, which makes these children engage in illegal mining. Some of them end up going to our neighbouring countries. From there, they engage in beer drinking. Please help us so that our communities are safe.

For those that are mining legally, why can they not assist people in these communities by covering these open pits that are left unattended to? If they are given an opportunity to cover these open pits along the way, this will develop the poor communities and reduce siltation of the dams as well as soil erosion. For example, if you throw away a plastic bottle, you are told to pick it up for recycling. Therefore, there is need to ensure that the enacted laws are enforced to ensure that open pits are covered so as to avoid posing challenges to our communities.

Mr. President, I am focusing more on rural areas and our culture. We are speaking more on EMA, forgetting that from here, EMA is approaching traditional leaders, who in the end, do not have enough to say about their areas because they will be following up on written messages which are being brought by EMA. There is need for them to engage the traditional leaders. They hear from them how their areas are like, those that have more destruction and those that are better off. This will assist us in ensuring that our land is preserved. No one is thinking of taking their money to Fidelity because they are looking at a scenario whereby if they take their minerals there, for a dollar they will get ZiG.

So they want foreign currency from outside the country. They need to take their minerals to Fidelity. They want to disempower the ZiG on their own. The ZiG is doing well for our country and I am one of those that can attest to that. Laws need to be monitored and need to work. My apologies Mr. President, I have indicated for quite a while the zeal to debate and now I am debating as if I am angry. Let us ensure that the proceeds of our land go back to the grandchildren. Let us not allow people coming from outside the country to come here and extract our minerals, leaving us with nothing. They need to ensure that they leave us something as Zimbabweans.

HON. S. MOYO: Mr. President Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 27th June, 2024.

On the motion of HON. SEN. GOTORA, seconded by HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-Nine minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

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