BY KENNETH NYANGANI
THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has pledged to implement infrastructural development programmes aimed at improving the lives of Marange villagers displaced from the gem-mining sites.
ZCDC chief executive Mark Mabhudhu made the remarks in Chiadzwa this week after a visit by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development led by Edmond Mukaratigwa.
The committee toured Marange diamond fields before addressing community-based organisations, civic society organisations, among other stakeholders at Headman Chiadzwa’s compound.
“As the leader of the ZCDC, I want to make a commitment that we will change the lives of villagers through social responsibility programmes and infrastructural developmental projects,” Mabhudhu said.
“All along, ZCDC has been struggling, but things are going to be better in the near future so we need to work together so that we achieve our main aim.”
Mining companies operating in Chiadzwa have often been accused of neglecting villagers displaced by the mining venture. Mabhudhu urged Marange villagers not to speak ill about the company’s mining activities since that would affect the marketing of the precious stones.
“There is no market of diamonds in the country, so what you say about our diamonds contributes a lot on how we sell the diamonds. So, we need to be united on what we say as a community about our diamonds,” he said
Centre for Research and Development director James Mupfumi said Marange villagers had an obligation to demand corporate and social responsibility from the diamond miner.
“We cannot solve adverse impacts of mining in communities without a sustainable policy regime. The Mines and Minerals Bill has been shelved by the Executive for personal reasons. The present Mines and Minerals Act is extractive for personal reasons.”
He added: “I have noted with concern that the Marange community is wallowing in poverty amid some human rights abuses by the State security agents.”
Follow Kenneth on Twitter @KennethNyangan1