Tendai Biti Asks Why Chinese Miners Were Given Mining Rights In Graveyards
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Harare East, Tendai Biti, has demanded to know why the government was giving Chinese miners rights to mine in graveyards and cemeteries in rural communities.
Biti who is CCC’s economy spokesperson in Parliament makes the remarks amid numerous reports about citizens being forced to vacate their traditional land to pave way for mining activities despite not enjoying the benefits of the resources.
My question is directed to Hon. Winston Chitando. Since when is it government policy that mining concessions are now being given in communal lands, irrespective of the rights of traditional and community leaders.
Some of the concessions and mining rights are actually being given over graveyards, cemeteries and people’s fields in communal lands?
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When did it become government policy that the Mines and Minerals Acts will override the Communal Lands Act and the power of traditional chiefs and communities in rural areas?
There are cases that are common cause and I give him the examples of mining concessions for black granite that have been given to Chinese companies in the Mutoko area. I give examples of mining concessions that have been given to Chinese companies in the Hwange National Park, Dinde area over cemeteries.
I give examples again of the Hlengwe-Hlangani land in Chiredzi, where again mining concessions have been given to some white interests. There are many examples. My question has not been answered – why is he allowing the Mines and Minerals Act to override the Communal Lands Act?
Chitando, the Mines and Mining Development Minister, professed ignorance over such unprocedural allocation of mining rights in Chiredzi. He added:
The other cases in the Hwange area, definitely being cases of mining title issued not in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act, there are no cases which I am aware of.
We have one or two cases in Mutoko which are being reviewed by the Ministry which pertains to some issuance of mining titles closer to schools and that is being reviewed. Certainly, I am not aware of any other cases in Hwange and Chiredzi.
He urged Biti to bring any other case to his “office and that will be reviewed accordingly.”