THE government is abolishing the mining commissioner position as part of ongoing efforts to clean up the mess in the mining sector.
Deputy Mines Minister Fred Moyo said the current set-up had promoted anarchy.
“The ministry and indeed the nation have witnessed an unprecedented increase in mining activities across the country. This called, and does call, for an equally unprecedented approach to doing business in the ministry,” Moyo said.
“It should be underlined that while the whole of the Zimbabwe Public Management System had over the years been evolving to cover the whole country thus getting services nearer to the client, the ministry’s structure has remained static and having offices in Harare, Kadoma, Gweru, Bulawayo and Masvingo with satellite offices in Hwange and Gwanda,” he said.
The deputy minister said since the attainment of independence in 1980 there has been a proliferation of mining activities all over the country which required decentralisation of official services to meet national development needs.
Two weeks ago, Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa ordered the closure of all mining commissioners’ offices across the country to allow an audit of departmental operations amid reports of corruption and double allocation of mining claims.
Moyo said the country’s five mining districts have now been expanded to eight.
“There will now be offices in Bindura, Marondera, Mutare, Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Gwanda, Lupane and Gweru. Any mining activities in the metropolitan province of Harare will be taken care of by the Mashonaland East mining province,” he said.
“Similarly, any activities in the metropolitan province of Bulawayo will be taken care of by the Matabeleland North Mining province.”
Moyo said centralisation of the mining commission offices had created a haven for criminal behaviour.
“We needed to stem the tide and put a stop to all the shenanigans that have been going on. That is why we have abolished the position of mining commissioner. The permanent secretary, Francis Gudyanga, has assumed all powers under Section 341 of the Mines and Minerals Act as well as the duties and functions of the former incumbent,” he said.
Moyo said they had also created a new department of Mining Research and Value Addition “to promote value addition and beneficiation as well as fully operationalise the mining cadastral system which is the digitalisation of the mining title system”.Advertisement
While Zimbabwe is endowed with vast mineral resources, the country has benefited little from these resources with reports of pillaging and underhand dealing as well as bad corporate governance.
Former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu is currently testifying in a case in which he is alleged to have solicited a $10 million bribe from former Core Mining Director Lovemore Kurotwi.
Kurotwi is on trial for allegedly tampering with a deal that could have prejudiced the government of no less than $2 billion according to the state case following the discovery of diamonds in Marange about 10 years ago.