Biti raises concern over mining concessions allocated over graveyards
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim vice president Tendai Biti (MP) has raised concern over the alleged allocation of mining rights “over graveyards, cemeteries and people’s fields in communal lands.”
Biti on Wednesday asked Mines Minister Winston Chitando if it was a government policy that mining concessions “are now being given in communal lands, irrespective of the rights of traditional and community leaders and some of the concessions and mining rights are actually being given over graveyards, cemeteries and people’s fields in communal lands?”
He further asked why the Mines and Minerals Acts was overriding the Communal Lands Act and the power of traditional chiefs and communities in rural areas.
“There are cases that are common cause and I give him the examples of mining concessions for black granite that have been given to Chinese companies in Mutoko area,” the Harare East legislator said.
“I give examples of mining concessions that have been given to Chinese companies in the Hwange National Park, Dinde area over cemeteries. I give examples again of the Hlengwe-Hlangani land in Chiredzi where again mining concessions have been given to some white interests.
“There are many examples. My question has not been answered – why is he allowing the Mines and Minerals Act to override the Communal Lands Act?”
Chitando, however, dismissed Biti’s sentiments.
“Once again, I would like to thank Hon. Biti for the supplementary question where he cited cases in Hwange, Chiredzi and Mutoko. Firstly, starting with Chiredzi, I am not aware of any cases in Chiredzi where mining titles have been issued not following the procedures of the Mines and Minerals Act.
“The other cases in the Hwange area, definitely being cases of mining title issued not in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act, there are no cases which I am aware of.
“We have one or two cases in Mutoko which are being reviewed by the Ministry which pertains to some issuance of mining title closer to schools and that is being reviewed.
“Certainly, I am not aware of any other cases in Hwange and Chiredzi. If there are any other specific cases, he is free to bring the cases to the office and that will be reviewed accordingly,” Chitando said.
In February Nehanda Radio reported how villagers in Mutoko were told by Chinese mining companies, Jinding Mining and Shanghau Haoying Mining Investments that they will have to leave their homes to make way for a granite quarries.