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Zimbabwean representatives at diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa must be ashamed for pursuing foreign interests against their own people by frustrating the fulfilment of pledges made towards the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust, parliamentarians have heard.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Manicaland Christopher Mushowe took a swipe at the firms that distanced themselves from the trust when they appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Cde Justice Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) recently.

Appearing before the same committee last Thursday, Minister Mushowe said villagers in Chiadzwa were living in poverty and inhumane conditions as mining firms politicked about addressing their problems through the trust.

He said all the diamond miners were represented when President Mugabe launched the trust in 2012.

“The sad part of it is that most of the people who came here (to give evidence), I understand are indigenous Zimbabweans who were seconded by the Government of Zimbabwe to these companies because the Government of Zimbabwe is a shareholder, who are fighting against empowering their own people, who are fighting against giving social responsibility to our people in defence of foreign investors who come, scoop diamonds and go,” said Minister Mushowe.

He said the firms could not claim credit for building houses for people who were evicted to pave way for mining activities.

“They did not build houses for people who were coming from caves,” said Minister Mushowe. “They built houses to replace their houses they had demolished in Chiadzwa. So to me, that argument is just a mischievous one.

“These people had their homes which were demolished to give way to companies to mine and make money. Building houses for them is just a replacement of their houses. Building schools is not a social responsibility because they had demolished schools in Chiadzwa.

“We appreciate the provisions that used to be made because most of them are no longer giving food provisions, perhaps except Mbada Diamonds which has been consistent, but the other ones are erratic to nothing.

“People have no food, not because they are lazy but because their fields have been turned into mining gullies by the companies. They have no fields. (Miners) are making part of their money out of their fields and so giving them some food is not a favour and should not be regarded as such.”

Minister Mushowe said most families were yet to be relocated despite Government setting aside land for that purpose.

He said only 980 houses had been built for about 3 260 families in the mining concessions.

“Gandauta High School is within the DMC concession … but you expect children to come to school and go out and yet, it’s now a red zone. People cannot willy-nilly go up and down,” said Minister Mushowe.

“The pipeline for water for DMC from the Save River to their concession passes through the school but the school has no water. Children go to school bare foot, they have no textbooks. The people who are still there are sniffing dust everyday and some of the houses are in fenced concessions. Surely the moral conscience of the companies must be searched.

“And these are the companies who have representatives who come here to this honourable house sitting here before this honourable committee and say ‘no, we didn’t know that we had a responsibility to pay money or we were not told that we should pay money or no, if we paid money it was out of gratis’.”

The diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa recently distanced themselves from the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust in which they were supposed to contribute $10 million each.

Source : The Herald