Small-scale miners rap govt over discrimination

SMALL-SCALE miners have blasted the government for failing to address their problems when dealing with larger corporates in mining.

IVAN NDLOVU
OWN CORRESPONDENT

During a question-and-answer session with the Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Fred Moyo in Zvishavane recently, miners said they had written a lot of complaints to his office, but they were not addressed.

The Shurugwi district small-scale miners’ chairperson Isaac Chivendera blasted the deputy minister, saying he has had meetings with him before, with no tangible outcome.

“We have come to you (Moyo) and we have written a lot of our complaints and proposals to your office,” he said.

“If you send someone to your archives, you will find a heap of our letters to you.”

An emotional Chivendera said their grievances were a result of late and non-payment by companies that process the miners’ chrome ore.

“We are worse than slaves because slaves know that they are working for free and won’t demand payment,” he said.

Chivendera narrated that as a small-scale miner, he had been sent to debt collectors by his employees before because Zimasco did not make their payments on time.

Another former miner, Hilary Sibanda, said he lost his mining rights to a Chinese company when he was still contracted to Zimasco.

In the contract seen by Southern Eye, Sibanda was supposed to be a tributary from July 31 2011 until June 30 2014.

Sibanda says that he was, however, evicted by the Chinese, with the assistance of Zimasco, from where he was mining in Mberengwa in 2013 without any notice.

Sibanda said he was sent to a lot of offices by the mining commission, but it was to no avail, as no action was taken on his behalf.

Chivendera and Sibanda were told to come to the Harare office with their papers for assistance.

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