By Byron Mutingwende
Firebrand Member of the House of Assembly for Norton, Temba Mliswa has called for formalisation of artisanal mining and clampdown on marauding criminals going by the moniker MaShurugwi who are unleashing violence and looting minerals in his constituency.
“I have always advocated for formalisation and regularisation of small-scale and artisanal mining. This is why I spearheaded the formation of the Norton Miners Association when I was Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.
“Societies, mining areas included, develop when there is peace. We should bear in mind that peace can only prevail when people are united. This is why I am appealing on each and every member of the community to unite against criminals calling themselves MaShurugwi. These criminals are not from Shurugwi. That is my home area that has produced luminaries like myself, former Attorney General Sobusa Gula Ndebele, Tawanda Chinogwenya and Francis Nhema just to mention a few,” Mliswa said.
The legislator, who is also a fitness trainer and a martial arts guru, pledged his expertise to train miners and some youths on self-defence techniques to guard the community against the marauding gangsters who use machetes to terrorise miners from Norton and steal their minerals.
He called on law enforcement agents to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in protecting citizens who are now living in fear of the gangsters.
“Each and every citizen is obliged to respect and uphold the rule of law. When I heard that some members of the police force were being bribed by the MaShurugwis, I appealed to the law enforcers’ top leadership resulting in the transfer of 119 police officers from Norton to other places like Binga and others,” Mliswa said, amid applause from miners who attended a meeting organised by the Norton Miners Association and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation on Tuesday 15 October 2019.
The marauding gangsters are killing or beating up miners in the Epson, Donnington and the Ascot 2 areas, which are rich in gold. Mliswa called for the formation of organised mining syndicates that would be formalised and regularised in order to attract investment and form a formidable force that will resist the gangsters.
In agreement, Lindiwe Mpofu, the Vice President of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation encouraged artisanal miners to formalise so as to attract capital and investment.
“It is critical for miners to formalise and keep records. When you are formalised and begin to pay taxes and contribute to the fiscus, banks, the government and investors will be able to give you loans so that you will be able to expand your operations and fully benefit from the minerals.
“I am excited to share with you information to the effect that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has a grant for artisanal and small-scale miners. These grants can only be availed to artisanal miners when they are in organised syndicates or formalised. Currently, the UNDP has a USD300 000 grant. Part of the grant has already been releases to some artisanal and small-scale miners. The UNDP promised to increase the grant to USD500 000 next year,” Ms Mpofu said.
She also explained the benefits of the Exploration Prospecting Orders (EPOs) that she said will be useful for capital injection from investors or banks because miners would have carried out exploration for minerals in partnership with external investors for a period of three years to ascertain the size and extent of the minerals underground. The EPOs enable the production of end-of-year and geological reports.