Lungile Masuku, Gwanda Community Economic Justice Development Trust 14/05/18
Gwanda District Alternative Mining Indaba was held on 09 May 2018 in Gwanda mining town where a lot of issues concerning mining activitiues in the district were deliberated.
The first speaker presented on ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Role in Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Poor Mineral Revenue Management. The speaker, a small scale miner, unpacked concerns that cause small scale miners to resort to illicit deals citing that government is to blame e.g. the unavailability of cash at banks especially the 30% issue. He indicated that some miners prefer selling their gold to the black market where they get 100% cash than the bank where a miner is given 70% cash and 30% which is transferred to bank accounts.
The recommendation was that cash should be availed to small scale miners to curb illicit financial flows.
The other issue raised was that of corrupt law enforcement agents of which it was emphasized that these must carryout their duties in a professional manner especially border control officers.
Also of concern was that government is failing to deal with corrupt ministers. The speaker highlighted that ministers continue exploiting communities of their mineral resources and go unpunished.
Ms Lungile Masuku of Gwanda Community Economic Justice Development Trust presented on ‘The Investor I want viz a viz Zimbabwe is Open for Business, and Community Development and Reforms in the Extractive Operations at Community level.
The following were expectations from the investor:
* Beneficiation factor – what will the community benefit from the project in terms of infrastructural development
* Community Expectations in respect of;
– human rights; we say no to human rights violations by investors
– environmental rights; to reduce land degradation, mining companies must reclaim disused pits after extraction of minerals.
– employment rights; locals should be given first preference, no to importation of labour
– Corporate social responsibility; CSR does not limit the investor unlike contributions made to Community Share Ownership Trusts which have specific projects to be catered for.
On reforms in the extractive operations, we emphasized on Publish What You Pay which promotes transparency and accountability in the mining sector. As a community we need to know how much is being realized from the mining companies, and also if these mining companies are compliant to taxation systems of the country.
* Reforms to promote gender and women’s involvement and broad based development. On this, the focus was on women’s participation in the artisanal and small scale mining sector since more women participate in this sector than in large scale mining.
* Enhancing Relations between companies and communities, whereby the emphasis is on community involvement and participation in mineral resource governance.
* The need for sustainability and disclosure by mining companies on economic, social, and governance issues for promoting transparency and accountability in the mining sector is important.
Government action to these reforms will go a long way in enhancing community development.