Zanu-PF calls for Vumbachikwe Mine takeover
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In an interview, Governor Masuku said the company was only interested in fattening the pockets of foreigners and destroying the natural landscape without developing the community it operated in.
Vumbachikwe Gold Mine, located about 8km north-west of Gwanda Town, reportedly refused to be part of the 15 mining companies participating in the recently launched Gwanda Community Share Ownership Scheme Trust (CSOS/T).
The CSOS/T is a countrywide Government initiative spearheading development and empowering rural communities by giving them a 10 percent stake in all businesses that exploit natural resources in their areas.
The companies under the indigenisation programme are supposed to cede 51 percent of their shares to Zimbabweans.
"As a province, we have made our position very clear to the Government through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment who are responsible for the CSOS/T. We do not want the present mine authorities to continue operating in this province," said Governor Masuku.
She said she saw no reason for the Government to enter into negotiations with the mine because the resources it was exploiting belonged to Zimbabweans.
"We say those who are prepared to work with us in the development of the province are welcome and those who do not want to should leave the province. We are asking for a mere 10 percent to develop, when we should be taking 100 percent," said Governor Masuku.
A fuming Governor Masuku said the indigenisation empowerment programme had taken too long because it should have started on Independence Day in 1980.
"We fought to liberate this country and thousands of people sacrificed their lives. It breaks my heart that 32 years after Independence, the people in one of the richest provinces, in terms of mineral wealth, remain the poorest. People in this province live in abject poverty and have to rely on the Government food handouts every year, when they have the capacity to fend for themselves and contribute meaningfully to the development of Zimbabwe," said Governor Masuku.
She said as a province they wanted the Government to immediately shut down the mine with a view to taking over and giving it to indigenous people who were prepared to partner with the community when it comes to development.
A comment could not be obtained from officials at Vumbachikwe Mine.
They referred questions to Mr Celestino Mhere from their human resources department.
However, efforts to contact Mr Mhere for the past 10 days have been fruitless as he was said to be out of office and his cell number was not reachable.
At the Gwanda CSOS/T launch earlier this month, Governor Masuku said it was saddening to note that Vumbachikwe Mine, which had been operating in the area for more than 100 years, was still not prepared to give back to the community.
Also speaking during the launch, President Mugabe warned companies that did not want to be part of the scheme, saying they would end up with nothing.
President Mugabe said foreigners, especially from Europe, had exploited the country's natural resources for centuries without developing the country and the time had come for the practice to stop.
He bemoaned the environmental degradation caused by the foreign companies while extracting the country's minerals, saying future generations would condemn and blame the country's leaders for the eyesores that did not benefit the country.
The Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Dr Ignatius Chombo, is on record saying until recently, Zimbabwe was one of the few countries in the world that did not have an indigenisation policy.
He said all the country's detractors, including Australia, the United States of America and Britain had similar policies in place buts suprisingly did not want Zimbabwe to have its own.
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