By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter
Members of Parliament have piled pressure on the government to crack down on mining companies that are reluctant to fulfil their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) obligations to communities in which they operate.
In recent years, there has been growing concern about the impact of mining on local communities with many communities have complained that they are not benefiting from the wealth generated by mining companies.
Speaking in parliament, on Wednesday, during a Question and Answer session, Guruve North MP, Tendai Pindukai who inquired about government policy on CSR said there was growth in the mining sector.
“My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. I would like to ask what Government policy is on corporate social responsibility with regards to mining taking place around our country,” queried Pindukai.
“My understanding is that we recorded a phenomenal growth in the mining industry from 2, 7,” he added.
In response, the leader of government business in parliament, Ziyambi Ziyambi said there were no statutes which mandated mining companies to do CSR.
“We do not have a concrete legal position to say mining companies must do 1, 2, 3, 4, but it is a moral assumption to say that if you are in a community, you must be able to plough back into that community.
“Currently, we do not have a legal position to say that they must do 1, 2, 3. We attempted that, but it has since been abandoned,” said Ziyambi.
In terms of Section 13 (4) of the Constitution, the State must ensure that the local communities benefit from the resources in their areas.
In line with this statute, Ziyambi said that section can be interpreted in several ways.
“All the monies that are supposed to be collected by the Government in terms of the same Constitution, must go to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“Currently, as Government, we are disbursing devolution funds where we are saying at the local level, you must decide what you do in terms of the resources that you are given.
“We have a structure which says you must benefit directly from resources that are there, but at the same time, we have a system which obligates all of us to say whatever is collected must go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund,” Ziyambi said.
According to Ziyambi, the funds collected are allocated depending on the potential benefits of the community.
“We then come here and say let us budget for devolution and that is how the local populace benefits from the resources that they have.”
Kuwadzana East legislator Charlton Hwende cited Mhondoro as a case and point saying the schools that were promised by platinum mining companies were yet to be built while the jobs youths were yet to be delivered.
Warren Park MP Shakespear Hamauswa said most mining companies exploit resources at the expense of locals.
“Regarding Section 13 which you read and noted that minerals are benefiting Chinese citizens and the local people are left with big open pits, where I come from in Warren Park, there are people who are living in poverty.
“Our minerals which are God-given should benefit the residents of that community,” said Hamauswa.