Home » Business » Zimplats Honours U.S.$10 Million Pledge

ZIMPLATS says it has fully paid up the US$10 million it pledged to the Mhondoro-Ngezi-Chegutu-Zvimba Community Share Ownership Trust after releasing the last tranche of US$1,5 million recently.

This comes at a time some diamond mining firms in Marange, among them Anjin Investment, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company and Jinan, have not honoured pledges made to the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust with some saying they never pledged to pay US$10 million apiece.

The last deposit by Zimplats is meant to bankroll development in the areas where the platinum giant operates and was made two weeks ago.

Part of the money which was invested has so far yielded US$300 000 over the three years in projects the trust has been running.

So far nearly US$2 million has been disbursed for various projects with the remainder held in trust at the bank and released on demand after satisfying conditions set out at the onset of the trust.

Zimplats head of corporate affairs Ms Busi Chindove confirmed the development yesterday adding that a lot of progress had been made in the various projects aanced by the communities for funding.

“We recently deposited the last tranche of money to fully settle the US$10 million we pledged to the Mhondoro-Ngezi-Chegutu-Zvimba CSOT. The deposits were made sometime last week and we are happy that most of the projects which have been earmarked for development and funding have been completed while a few are at various levels of completion,” she said.

Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Cde Faber Chidarikire said Zimplats honous US$10m pledge he would have to verify if the deposit was made, adding that money was indeed being released by the platinum giants over the years.

“I will have to follow up on the progress but what I know is that money has always been available but some districts could not access it due to some grey areas that needed to be cleared,” he said.

Although Cde Chidarikire could not be drawn into revealing the areas of misunderstandings in respect of some districts, he said the misunderstandings were largely a misinterpretation of the founding operational framework guiding the trust funds.

Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Cde Francis Nhema said companies should answer for themselves if they have been honouring their pledges and held to account on the basis of what they have done or not.

“As for how the companies are faring in terms of honouring their pledges I think they have to answer for themselves so that they are judged on the basis of what they have said themselves on the matter. We don’t want a situation where they are being said to be refuting what Government or some quarters are saying. They have to account for themselves,” he said.

Zimplats released US$8,299 667 and another US$275 142 was return on investment taking the figure to US$8,574 809 by end of 2013.

Of that US$51 659 went towards meeting administration costs which include allowances for staff among other costs.

Another US$1, 5 million was released recently bringing the amount to us$10 million.

There has been an outcry from various quarters that Zimplats was not honouring its pledge to the CSOT but information in possession of The Herald shows that the three communities received varying amounts for projects.

The bone of contention was the remainder of the money which is still held at the bank.

However, according to officials administering the Indigenisation programme, the money is waiting for more projects to be proposed.

“The next phase of the disbursement is for communities to bring in more projects that they want to undertake and the money is released,” said the source who preferred anonymity.

At least half of the money will go towards community development projects while 40 percent will go towards setting up of income-generating projects and the remainder will go towards assisting youths and women.

Chief Zvimba could not be reached for comment.

According to documents in our possession, Mhondoro-Ngezi received us$532 859 for 17 projects that include construction and renovation of classroom blocks and teachers quarters.

Zvimba district got us$371 805 which was used to sink 28 boreholes, buy 800 items of furniture for various schools, construction of three workshops at Murombedzi Vocational Training College and completion of Kutama Day Secondary School.

Part of the money is being used at on-going projects such as roofing of Herbert Chitepo School, Dalkieth Secondary School and Katsvamutima Primary School.

Chegutu District got $963 113 for 38 projects with 30 of them having been commissioned.

These include the construction and renovation of classroom blocks, water reticulation at Rudzi Primary School and computerisation of Mashayamombe Vocational Training Centre.

Source : The Herald