Since the start of mining in Solwezi, the population and traffic has increased in large numbers , especially mine related traffic. The roads are now in a bad state.
The Solwezi Municipal council is in debt. It has arrived at a debt swap arrangement with Kansanshi mine which includes handing over responsibility for the development of a part of the road network to the corporation.
YAD activists in Solwezi are monitoring the problem of poor roads and discuss the question – is the Municipal debt swap with the Mine , trading long term development for short term results
The State of Roads in the Mining Town of Solwezi
This is the bridge which connect people of Kyafukuma area and Solwezi town. Since December when it was washed away by the rains people have complained to the government and nothing has been done to ease the movement of people in the area.
Shikamo Eliack /YAD/North western Zambia. CSO Voice Soft but making impact.
The CSO voice is a voice that is perceived to have no strong impact. Its not a voice that produces a strong wave that brings a hurricane or an earth quake. But it slowly makes impact.
The picture above is the works that kansanshi is doing on some designated roads. This after for the past 2 years CSO advocated for some funds from land rate to be channeled towards roads. As solwezi municipal counsel had been misusing the funds with out residents seeing the clear benefits.
Hence CSO advocated for the funds to be set aside for road works. This year SMC had set aside 30% of the funds and entered in an MOU with Kasanshi mine for them to do the local roads. The strength of the picture is about the impact of our voices of extractive industry and how it should benefit local people.
The gap is that kasanshi mine is doing only graveling of the roads hence this leaves a loophole for every year spending funds on same roads. Hence we CSO won’t sleep and relax. We will advocate for quality tarred roads and this will reduce cost of doing the roads. Tarring one stretch is better than graveling same roads every year.
Bravo to CSO for the work we doing for the voiceless. It has a deep impact though not instant clear
Chilufya kabwe /YAD/north western Zambia 16/08/18
Zambia kimasala road in a very bad state:
This is Zambia kimasala road which used by kansanshi mine and the public. This road is very busy but it has not been worked on for some years now. The government and the mines need work together for the betterment of this road.
Shikamo Eliack: Shikamo Eliack/YAD/North western province. 8/16/2018]
Local Roads. 17/8/2018.
The local roads in Solwezi are supossed to be worked in by Solwezi municipal council. Having advocated on the proper utilization if the revenue collected from Kansanshi mine. The municipal council entered in debt swap with the corperate which brought about an agreement were the mine road dept could work in the selected roads I the town.
Sadly the workman ship is about resurfacing thee roads. The has left us to wonder about with regards to the quality if toads being done. For example the road In picture is the town kimasala road. Before the rains raid, already getting in a a we cindem the agreement deplorable state.
Our demand is that thee corporate should do a road of there quality alas we declare that it was not a good agreement.
Is the debt swap and handing over responsibilities to the mine good for the community ?
Anna Sophie Hobi [16/8/2018]
If i may ask or add a comment. I like the idea that infrastructure might now be done faster and less funds misappropriated. BUT I have a huge concern:
- SMC is thereby contracting Kansanshi for most of the roads and other infrastructure. Solwezi has been crying for local employment and local contractor. Local construction and roads companies can not even establish themselves if even government contracts foreign companies. This is short term and result oriented thinking. Long term development goodbye!
- SMC gives away the responsibility of planning and accounting. They will not improve their accounting and corruption. If they even dont need to work on it. Responsibilty and power in town is even more going to the mine
- I dont know about Zambia but by that FQM becomes the biggest contractor of roads in town, while it is actually a mining company. Does zambia have anything like a law against contractor monopolies?
Please anyone from there give me some feedback on this. I highly dislike the debt swap. Even though i see practical and fast developments. In long term i fear for Solwezi
The debt swap is the best way so far in terms of infrastructure development, the council has been receiving land rates from time the mines started operating but we have never seen what they do with the money the collect, we can not continue entrusting them with more funds, Kansanshi is not working on all the projects under the debt swap, they will subcontract local contractors on some of the projects and pay them other than the funds going to the councils where it will just be misapplied
Anna Sophie Hobi 16/8/2018
Thank you for the reply. I definitely see your point. And i am happy about the fact that kansanshi willalso use local contractors.
I still have some concerns. Especially concerning power relations and accountability of councils. Wish could come for lengthy discussions
Accountability issues around the council have been our concern and that’s why this debt swap serves them better,
Anna Sophie Hobi 16/8/2018
It takes also away the chance to encourage accountability because of not being responsible. But i see your point is more valid. Long term there has to be away for. Councils to be more accountable though to take responsibilities again
Anna Sophie 14/9/2018
It is worrying. especially that no one seems to know exactly how the debt is really being paid. Or has anyone clarification? Where is the gain for Kansanshi in this, and how can SMC repay its debt by this debt swap. looking at the numbers given by Kansanshi and SMC (50% of tax paid to SMC withheld to do specific development projects) it remains unclear how debts are actually paid here