Community wallows in poverty as politicians grab Penhalonga gold mine

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By Staff Reporter

THE Penhalonga community in Mutasa South constituency continues to wallow in abject poverty as politicians have grabbed mine claims for self-enrichment, Centre for Research and Development (CRD) has said.

CRD director James Mupfumi said without proper devolution in place, only a few connected individuals will benefit from local natural resources at the expense of the majority poor.

He said Metallon Gold owned Redwing Mine which used to be a source of livelihood for thousands of locals has been invaded by political actors who have seized 30 percent shares.

“We have discovered that a son of a prominent politician in Zimbabwe has just got into Penhalonga with other political actors parcelling out each other 30 percent shares at Redwing Gold Mine.

“They have formalised illegal gold mining in Penhalonga. They have never been stopped regardless of this pandemic (Covid-19) and there is no revenue going to the communities and the plight of Redwing workers who are exposed to dust is worsening every day,” said Mupfumi.

He said the health of the local community was at risk as politicians continued to mine without proper registration and following procedure.

“We have three cases of pneumonomycosis which we recorded but government has not looked into the case, but we see top government officials going to the mine to parcel out claims.

“They even started mining without proper papers. They have started digging without due diligence of the local communities,” he said.

The environmental activist said the community has no electricity and no source of income.

“Who is going to look at economic, social and environmental rights of communities,” said Mupfumi.

He said government should immediately bring to parliament a Provincial and Metropolitan Bill to kick-start the devolution process.

“This devolution exercise being carried out by government is useless. They are taking money to the provinces but there is no participation of communities in the projects under devolution,” he said.