ONLY two from a possible 50 mining firms in Zimbabwe have completed the Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSOTs) programme initiated by government in 2011 to spearhead developmental projects in the country, an official has
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association’s responsible investments conference in Bulawayo yesterday, National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board compliance manager (CSOTs), Sibanengi Mahobele, said companies were reneging on fulfilling their pledges.
“To date, 61 CSOTs have been registered in 60 rural communities and one urban community. A total of $39 million has so far been disbursed to 26 CSOTs against a total pledge of $128 million,” he said.
“We only have two companies that have been able to complete CSOTs so far and we are pressuring other companies to comply.”
He, however, said hundreds of projects have been implemented across the country in education, health and infrastructural development.
Rural communities, especially Marange, where giant companies like Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, DMC, Marange Resources and Jinan operated, felt that mining companies were exploiting them, as they had failed to honour their pledges.
The five diamond mining companies in Marange were supposed to contribute $50 million ($10m each) to Zimunya Marange CSOT, but none had done so until their licences were revoked early this year.
As at February 2015, Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds had released $250 000 and $200 000 respectively.
Affected communities also felt that the programme does not belong to them, as they do not have CSOT certificates.
“If we don’t have the certificates, it simply means we are not shareholders. Also the 10% is problematic and obscure,” one community member said.
A Zimunya Marange CSOT representative said the companies had left roads damaged and water bodies polluted.
“We never benefited from the diamonds, yet we are told that they are depleted and we are exposed to dust on a daily basis,” a representative said.
Another representative from Mutoko CSOT said from six companies that were operating in the area, only three managed to pay $67 500.
CSOTs were set up so that communities would benefit from companies exploiting resources in their areas.
The government gazetted the Indigenisation law in 2010, which requires local, community and employee participation in companies.