Refias Sithole 21/05/18
On the 16th May 2018 the Zimbabwe Environmental law Association and its partners Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development and Zimbabwe Council of Churches successful hosted the Manicaland provincial Alternative Mining Indaba. The event was held at Forestry industries Training Center in Mutare. The alternative mining indaba was attended by various stakeholders which include communities through CBOs who operate in manicaland specifically from Marange, Penhalonga ,chimanimani, Buhera Chipunge among others .
This year’s provincial alternative mining indaba was held under the theme Accountable and Transparent Governance of Natural Resources : Safeguarding development interests of local communities in mining sector reforms . Therefore the main objectives of the Indaba were to discuss mining sector reforms in Zimbabwe, analyse the impact of ongoing and proposed investments in communities and to prepare and take stock of the regional alternative mining indaba AMI in south Africa .
The communities made presentations on their experiences in their respective mining areas as well as challenges they a facing . They also dramatise to the audience the situation in Chiadzwa on various human rights abuses and showed their disgruntlement on why they are not benefiting from mineral extraction in Marange while other communities in Zvishavane, Shurugwi are benefitting. There were also presentation from ZELA, ZCC and ZimCODD on the ongoing policy initiative Zimbabwe is open for business ,its implications, challenges and opportunities in the mining sector. The Indaba also had discussions on various issues like the corporate accountability in mining exrtaction , involuntary displacement and their implications on peace and development, strengthening the tax justice campaign and the church and natural governance in Manicaland as well as the nation at large .
From all the deliberations, the Alternative mining indaba came up with minimum demands and resolutions for investors in the mining sector. These were as follows:
* there is need for continuous monitoring and assessing of environmental damage by EMA to ensure minimum environmental damage and sustainable development .
*stakeholders engagements and consultants before,during and after licence of mining operations.
*Benefactors of mining enterprises should remain socially, economically and environmentally accountable to the communities affected.
*Development and timeous implementation of a sound displacement and compensation policy.
*Mining companies should seed their share to community enterprises. Mining companies who are suppose to to pay their taxes should pay.
*implementation of constitutional provisions on property rights as well as duties and obligations of the state and other duty bearers towards the citizen .
*Tax holidays and other retrogressive tax incentives should be totally removed.
* Communities should benefit from resource extraction through improved socio economic service delivery .
* Companies should publish what they pay to government and local authorities to increase transparency and accountability .
* Government should revoke licenses of tax dodging companies as they are not only depriving communities of development but also robbing our natural resources.
* Governance of natural resources must be depoliticized, standardised ,inclusive and consultative.
* The church should raises their voices of accountability to citizens with regards yo natural resources.
* The church and its members demand increased stewardship of natural resources for both sustainability and posterity.
However, all these demands should be addressed to different relevant stakeholders which include the Parliament ,President’s office,ministry of mines,land ,environment, companies responsible, EMA among others .