Sat, Sep 18, 2021

Natural Resource Curse: The case of Kusena community, Marange.

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By Juliet Gudhlanga

Capitalism and neo liberal policies have catalysed poverty and inequality in resource extraction. In Zimbabwe, the discovery of Marange diamonds since 2002 has presented a clear case of the Dutch disease presented by natural resources to locals. There is no responsible investment in the Marange diamond extraction. Foreign direct investments have made the Kusena community in Marange to live under threat and fear of relocation. The community’s Environmental Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs) have been greatly compromised. How can indigenous rights be safeguarded in mining communities? There is need for capacity training and networking with other communities who lived the same experience towards an understanding of issues relating to free and informed prior consent on displacements as foreign direct investment takes priority in Zimbabwean natural resource governance.

Diamond workers staying in squalid conditions

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The houses made of timber accommodating ZCDC workers in Chimanimani 

By Cosmas Sunguro

The workers of Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in Manicaland are living in squalid conditions with the sight of most housing blocks not positively portraying   the company’s profile.

ZCDC, a diamond mining company is well known for splashing money to entice the admirers into believing that it’s the best mining company to come out of Zimbabwe. Amidst the disgruntlement is the allegation that the company funded  30  participants from Zimbabwe to attend the 15th Session of the Kimberly Process plenary meeting in Brussels Belgium.

The meeting commenced on the 12th and will run until the 16th of November 2018. According to Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG)’s Director, Mr Farai Maguwu the company paid for at least 30 people to attend the meeting with the money spent hovering around USD$100 000.According to him, this exposes the company’s misplaced priorities comparing this with the level of poverty amongst the workers and surrounding communities.

The Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied workers Union (ZIDAWU) is dismayed that the company continues to pay lip service when it comes to workers’ issues. A recent visit to the company’s residential area exposed a gloomy picture on the workers’ living premises. Those workers living in Chimanimani premises are living in cabins made of timber. The ventilation leaves a lot to be desired as well. Most residents live in fear as they were made to sign forms declaring that they will not divulge any information about their sorry condition.

The workers are not allowed to live with their spouses. Recently, there was a case of two workers who were found in a ladies toilet enjoying the forbidden fruit and were summarily dismissed. Although their action cannot be condoned, there could be other reasons for their behaviour. Both female and male workers are virtually camped in the same yard. The residential area is becoming smaller considering the ever increasing number of workers.

ZCDC inherited the residential compound built by Diamond Mining Company (DMC) before the Government decided to consolidate the six Chiadzwa diamond mining companies in 2016. The situation at ZCDC is a ticking time bomb and   the company needs to move swiftly to address the situation. This must be a priority considering that the workers are the drivers of the much hyped increase in the million carats in diamond production.

Artisanal small scale mining providing a buffer from livelihood shocks

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Penhalonga has suddenly become a hive of activity

By Llloyd Sesemani

Like many young unemployed youths,23 year old Talent Mutepfa from Tsvingwe surburb has joined several people participating in the Manicaland gold rush in a bid to survive the country’s deteriorating economy. According to him poverty has driven him to artisanal gold mining.

Since the closure of DTZ mining company in 2016 several people who lost their jobs have struggled to make ends meet. The majority of DTZ former employees have resorted to illegal gold panning and these have gone on to reoccupy the disused shafts of the former miner in search of gold.

The percentage of school drop outs has also risen since most have traded books for picks and shovels.  Moreover, the moral fibre of society has also decayed while the environment has not been spared with massive land degradation on the rise.

People in the area are living in fear; this comes in the wake of machete gang fights that have become popular in the suburb’s nightclub and these actions are allegedly being perpetrated by the artisanal miners.

The gold rush is an indication of the negative effects of Zimbabwe’s current economic meltdown which has seen closure of most companies.

The community of Penhalonga is making deafening calls on the government to urgently address their concerns as they argue that a stitch in time saves nine.

Press release 26 September 2018

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Arda Transau relocation, a tale of the resource curse

 

Drug abuse, commercial sex work, domestic violence and family disintegration are some of the social ills that remain embedded in most rural communities. Villagers residing in Arda Transau, a state owned farm turned residential area for people displaced by mining activities in Chiadzwa’s diamond fields have argued that these challenges are faced predominantly by women.

“These challenges date back to 2009 when villagers from Marange were displaced to pave way for large scale diamond mining. People’s rights were violated, they were relocated without adequate compensation and compensation procedures were not properly followed.” According to Chairman of Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers Union, Cosmas Sunguro

Sunguro further highlighted that the villagers, particularly women, in the resettled community felt disoriented, and traumatised by verbal, psychological and other types of abuse by the military who were actively involved in the forced displacement.

Some women residing in the area have raised concern over domestic violence and sexual harassment in their families attributing this to insufficient or lack of food to feed the family among other basic necessities. Most of the families relocated to Arda Transau from Chiadzwa diamond fields do not have income generating projects that can assist them to fend for their families. The rate of unemployment is estimated at around 95%, the community of Arda Transau has not been spared.

Speaking in her local language, Marry Kusena who resides in Arda Transau said, ”lack of livelihood projects to sustain their families has brought untold suffering in the community adding that the government and former mining companies who relocated them did not provide alternative livelihoods options for sustaining them.”

According to a survey conducted in Arda Transau by the Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers Union (ZIDAWU) in June this year, some of the women interviewed revealed that they are engaging in commercial sex work to earn a living. If given other alternative ways of survival, they confided that they would quit the trade. Women hardly have access to employment opportunities in the mining companies to be able to sustain their families.

In addition, most parents cannot afford to pay school fees and the burden often falls on the mothers who have to take manual jobs to secure school fees. The management at a local school in Arda Transau has also come under the spotlight for sending pupils back home for failure to settle tuition fees. This is in direct contravention of Section 75(1) of the Zimbabwe Constitution which notes that; every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic State funded education.

ZIDAWU argues that there is a need for continuous engagement with communities that depend on and are affected by extractivism while development partners and the government must ensure that mining companies honour their obligations.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND INTERVIEWS CONTACT:

Nhlanhla Kubeka

frayintermedia: Account manager

Tel: +27 11 888 0140

Cell: +27 79 847 897

Email: nkubeka@frayintermedia.com

OR

Cosmas Sunguro

Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers Union: Chairman

Cell: +263 772 763 209

Email: zzidawu@gmail.com