Isabel Rambi (ZIDAWU)
The prevailing Covid -19 pandemic has increased a gap between the rich and the poor, making the later poorer. With restrictions on movements and closure of informal business many are left without any means of survival. The high unemployment rate is not easing the situation and unlike other governments worldwide, there is no effective food aid or social relief being offerd by our government to the majority of the population. In mining communities this has left many youths and women vulnerable to sexual exploitation and harassment. In a bid to empower communities on how to survive in these trying situations, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association(ZELA) conducted a vivid discussion on extractives, inequalities and Resource mobilisation with the mining communities at Hotsprings secondary school on the 14th of August 2020. Present were Zimbabwe Diamonds Allied Workers Union (ZIDAWU) representatives , health sectors ,education,VIRDCO, WARDCO and SOCNET. The meeting was chaired by Miss Fadzai Midzi of ZELA ,it was noted that covid-19 pandemic brought great changes in majority’s lives. The education sector was affected most and the percentage of school dropouts is becoming high. Academically, most children are being affected since they can not afford online lessons and paying a $5 usd monthly on extra lessons due to economic hardships. As a result, girls are engaging in early marriages and boys are abusing drugs due to idleness. On a sad note the Hotsprings Kraal head mentioned that there is a twelve year old girl who was raped and left HIV positive. Private school teachers lost their jobs since they survived on school fees and chools are not able to pay their workers since they rely on fees paid. The school projects are standing still, for example, Goko secondary was doing goat keeping project and now its affected on market since business is slow. However the communities were urged to do fund raising projects and keep their children busy.Clinics and hospitals were said to have no vaccinations and medication. Medicines are found in private clinics and this created a gap between the rich and the poor. It was said that those who live on medication are failing to collect their medicines in time because of the travelling restrictions. Pregnant mothers are not attended in time since nurses fear the covid-19 .Visiting time is restricted so relatives of the sick are suffering intellectually. The right to health care is violated because of the situation, if medicines are brought in villages it would be much useful.
VIRDCO and WARDCO representatives were complaining on hunger crisis.The sources of getting money are becoming limited vending and working were cited. They further on state that criminal records are becoming high because people are not jailed. Communities are failing to do team work in the developments since majority are saying gatherings were banned. The kraal heads were urged to encourage parents in paying revenues so that they will be able to have plough back.ZIDAWU representative propounds that there is overcrowding in barracks where workers are are living in at ZCDC and AINJIN were stated. Ardocraft workers lost their jobs on the other hand ZCDC workers are not getting their salaries.
SOCNET states that monitoring and development are stationery due to travelling restrictions. Meetings are done online hence information may not reach everyone.On public financial management, Mr Happy Kamanda from ZELA urged communities to monitor funds, participate in development, understand policies , participate in budgeting and teach others on public finances. Mr Mutisi of the same organisation rounded up by introducing the Kimberly Certification process. As an Institute KPCS expects authorities and mining companies to adhere to mining regulations by having them mine responsibly.