MPs grill Perm Sec over two-year delay on Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill

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By Anna Chibamu

MINES ministry permanent secretary, Onesimo Mazai Moyo, was Monday grilled by legislators over delays in re-tabling the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill.

Moyo told the Mines Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that the draft Bill has since been received by the ministry from the Attorney General’s office.

“We now have a draft from the Attorney General’s office,” he said.

“The direction that I got from the Minister (Winston Chitando) is that the Executive wants the Bill to go to Cabinet Committee on Legislation first and then to Cabinet.”

He was responding after several committee members expressed dismay over failure by the Ministry to fast track the Bill.

The proposed statute, which has gone for more than two years in the process to be made into law, was brought back to Parliament by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, alleging it did not meet the expected requirements by the public.

Bindura South MP, Remigious Matangira, told Moyo that “the Bill was brought to the mines ministry last Friday, so can we also have a look at the Bill. We are talking about something that is not available.”

Moyo insisted the Bill was at his office and requested 30 minutes for an official to bring it to Parliament.

Another committee member, Davison Svuure, added, “The Bill has taken extremely too long and as such, this has raised people’s concerns on what is actually happening.

“This Bill was taken out of the Attorney General’s office. We have walked this same route before.

“Apparently, I was, at one point, closely involved with the processes as an MP in the sub-committee which I chaired. We want assurance that this bill has come out of the Attorney General’s office and indeed, it is in your hands.

“We need to be sure that it has gone through all the offices that you have mentioned.”

One committee member requested to have the Bill in the committee meeting, but Moyo said the protocol did not allow a bill that had not gone through Cabinet legal committee to be shared to anyone, even Parliament.

Meanwhile, the MPs condemned the Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs), which they said led to the destruction of communities as foreign companies getting special mining rights were pushing artisanal miners from mining business, causing land degradation.

Nyika yapera kudzokera kuvarungu. Pane ari kutengesa nyika, (The land has gone back to the white people. Someone has sold out)” a committee member shouted, alleging the companies were also destroying even the homes of poor people in the countryside.

Committee chairperson and Zanu PF’s Mberengwa North MP, Marko Raidza, gave the ministry up to the end of the June to submit proof that the Bill is available as alleged.