The gold claims in the Bonza area near Dossert have been a source of livelihood for hundreds of unemployed locals who were given mining rights by the owner of the claims, Francis Bester.
The Zimbabwe Investment Agency certificate for the Chinese firm, which is held by The Zimbabwean, shows a number of irregularities.
The document shows that Jin Yang Africa was authorised by government to make its investment in Mashaba, Masvingo and, according to the law, the area of operation stated cannot be transferred. This means the firm has no legal authority to mine in Shurugwi. The document also has no licence number.
Efforts to contact the firm were fruitless.
Desmond Mangisi, spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, an advocacy organisation that stands for all small-scale miners, condemned the actions of the firm saying they had left about 1,500 people unemployed in Shurugwi. He also said that the firm had shut down the shafts to deter local miners. “We are taking appropriate action on the issue. So far we have approached the district administrator for Shurugwi, Joram Chimedza, but it looks like the Chinese are adamant because, after having been told to stop the operations, they agreed to do so but then went back to do the mining contrary to their promises,” said Mangisi.
He added that his organisation has also approached the public service commission and it was again put to the Chinese that could not do away with the involvement of locals because the laws state foreign companies need a 51/49 per cent shareholding with local people.
“The next step that we will be taking soon is to approach the minister for Midlands provincial affairs, Jaison Machaya, and the mines ministry itself for recourse. We feel the Chinese have jumped the gun and are taking everyone for granted,” said Mangisi.
Chinese investors came into the country in large numbers after the introduction of Zanu (PF)’s Look East Policy in the early 2000s after the European Union nations had expressed reservations in dealing with President Robert Mugabe’s government.
However, a survey carried out by the then deputy mines minister, Gift Chimanikire, indicated that most Chinese firms, especially in the mining sector, flouted normal regulations and abused locals through long working hours and paltry wages.Post published in: News