Abuse by foreigners in extractive sector riles Zimbabweans

EnviroPress Reporter

Following outcries over abuse of locals by foreign investors particularly the Chinese in the extractive sector, the minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando, has warned perpetrators that any forms of abuse will not be tolerated.

Chitando said workers in the extractive sector, who feel abused, should approach the National Employment Council (NEC) for the mining industry to seek recourse.

“The government came up with a responsible mining initiative, basically saying all mining in the country should be done responsibly and in observance of the laws of the country.

“This is very important and these laws include employment labour laws, selling products through approved channels, environmental laws, the Lands Act among others.

“We do have, in terms of labour laws, the National Employment Council (NEC) for the mining industry. This is composed of employers and the trade unions,” said Chitando.

He said the NEC for the mining industry is responsible for addressing issues of abuse and exploitation in the sector.

“The NEC for the mining industry meets to determine the minimum remuneration to be paid to mine employees,” said Chitando.

There has been an outcry in the Sese community in Chivi after the abortive ‘exploration’ exercise by Murowa Diamonds, with locals accusing the company of under-paying their local employees and destroying the environment.

The angry villagers ended up stopping all the operations of the mining company until they had found common ground.

Many communities in the country have been fearful of the Chinese investors who are being dished out vast tracts of mining claims across the country.

The Chinese have gained notoriety over their unethical and exploitative conduct in the extractive sector with some sources claiming that the Chinese were being considered to setup a gold mine in the Ngundu area of Chivi.

“We heard that a gold processing plant is being mooted here in Chivi and we would be happy with the investment but when we go wind that it could be the Chinese coming we all got scared.

“The Chinese are very bad people and they do not respect locals and local traditions. Chivi is a dry area which does not fare well in crop production due to the lack of irrigation services and if such developments come we would hope to get irrigations development as part of the mining firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) but with the Chinese nothing is definite,” said one traditional leader who spoke on condition of anonymity.

This project was made possible through a partnership with the Southern Africa Trust. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent that of the Trust or its associates. www.southernafricatrust.org