The government has come under fire for failing to provide for the welfare of people displaced from the Marange diamond fields.
President Robert Mugabe, who admitted sensationally that $15 billion worth of diamonds had been stolen, recently seized control of all mining in the Marange fields and set up the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company to take over the operations of all firms that were mining there. However, the displaced people were not consulted before the rushed takeover was concluded and they accuse government of failing to honour pledges made by the previous miners.
A local NGO, Platform for Youth Development said changing ownership of the mines had not translated into benefits for the long-suffering community.
“PYD observes that mining companies that had been operational in the Marange area had not fulfilled their responsibilities and obligations to surrounding and displaced communities. These responsibilities and obligations still subsist regardless of changes in mine ownership since the mining operations made profits and were responsible for the displacement. PYD apportions responsibility to the government of Zimbabwe for failing to monitor the social impacts of the mining operations from the construction phase to the operational phases of the mining.The act of closing the mines is not entirely a solution since there has been no plan to ensure that any adverse social impacts on the outlying environment were minimized or addressed. If there is no social audit carried out to ascertain outstanding liabilities and responsibilities by the previous mine operators, closing of the mining and the bringing in of new investors remains futile in resolving the community concerns,” PYD said.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on indigenization led by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena last week heard angry demands from some of the displaced people in Marange during public hearings for the Mines and Minerals Act which seeks to legalize government’s takeover of all diamond mining in the area.
“There is clear testimony that investors are working in collaborations with corrupt ZANU PF personalities in cabinet who are part of the conspiracy to rob Zimbabweans of their natural resources. In contrast the local communities are living in grinding poverty despite the public proclamation of benefitting them. Admittance by Robert Mugabe the President of Zimbabwe, that 15 billion dollars has been lost in Chiadzwa is a call for government to take its responsibilities seriously to avoid a repetition of the Marange diamonds scenario,” the NGO said.
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