By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FORMER fighters of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation are set to be allocated 20% of chrome mining claims in the country as government moves to appease the restless ex-combatants.
Addressing the media at a Post-Cabinet update at the Munhumupata Boardroom in Harare Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Mines Minister Winston Chitando had proposed that the ex-liberation fighters be allocated a certain percentage as part of a government empowerment programme.
“The minister tabled a proposal of re-allocating chrome mining claims which were ceded by ZimAlloys,” Mutsvangwa told journalists.
“These claims will be re-allocated to other companies which will receive mining claims to sustain and expand ferrochrome mining production. 20% of the claims of the ceded from a total of 11 747 hectares will be reversed for war veterans.
“The modus operandi of the distribution of the mining claims to the war veterans will be announced in due course,” she said.
Clarifying on the proposed allocation, Chitando said any Zimbabweans who is interested in chrome mining was free to approach his office, but added the 20% allocated to war veterans was reversed as part of government’s empowerment programme.
“First these mining claims have been earmarked specifically for companies which are into ferrochrome production and the only exception to that criteria has been the allocation to war veterans in terms of government policy towards empowering of war veterans,” Chitando said.
“However, every Zimbabwean has the leeway, individually or collectively as a grouping to come to the Ministry to apply a claim and for special granting and where the area is open that certainly will be considered and processed.
“The Mines Minerals Act works on a first come first service basis, so any Zimbabwean or in the form of a syndicate, company which ever form you want to apply in you can come and we will certainly facilitate the processing of claims if the area is open.”
Veterans of the liberation struggle have, for long, been demanding a lot of privileges from government.
The demands include fresh farm allocations, exemption for their children from paying school fees, to be allowed to seek free treatment in private hospitals, diplomatic passports and not to pay for tollgates.