By Business Reporter – Monday 17 December 2018
HARARE (Mining Index) – THE new National Diamond Policy has been faced with criticism after Mines and Energy Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chairperson, Temba Mliswa revealed that recommendations made by parliament were not taken into consideration.
Earlier this month, Mangaliso Ndlovu, who was acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, gave highlights of the new policy which he said has received cabinet approval.
Mliswa said Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando “was not supposed to go ahead with the diamond policy without implementing recommendations from the parliamentary committee.”
The diamond policy allows only four companies to undertake diamond mining from exploration, mining, processing, valuation, marketing, beneficiation, value addition, capacity building, security and law enforcement.
“People cheer and say you did a sterling job on the diamond enquiry, but look where we are. We are already taking about the diamond policy. The minister (Winston Chitando) was supposed to say we cannot go ahead with the diamond policy, there are recommendations,” he said.
Mliswa disclosed that one of the recommendations made by the parliamentary committee was to prohibit ZCDC operations in Chiadzwa and pave way for companies that had formerly held diamond mining concessions to resume operations.
“We clearly said that the takeover of the diamond was illegal. ZCDC was illegal. But today I read that there is a diamond policy being tabled. If we talk about our (parliamentary) role of oversight, it is to come up with recommendations. Those recommendations were not taken on board. We said that ZCDC must totally not mine.”
“They must allow those who were mining who had those concessions to go back to those concessions. We talk about the rule of law; we need to go back to the rule of law in the new dispensation. They (ZCDC) have continued to mine; they have continued to do what they do. If parliament cannot be listened to, is there political will?” questioned Mliswa.
He said the role of parliament must be respected in giving recommendations that support the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra.
“We talk about the unlawful takeover of the diamond mines. We talk about Zimbabwe being open for business, rule of law, the investors coming in. We correct that by allowing an independent institution, parliament to exercise its oversight and come up with recommendations and investors are comfortable that there is an institution whose role is oversight,” said Mliswa.
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), Murowa Diamonds including two other companies, yet to be named, have been mandated to explore and mine diamonds in Zimbabwe.
Speculation has it that former Chinese diamond concession holder, Anjin Investment could be one of the two unnamed companies to hold a diamond mining licence in Zimbabwe.
In 2016, government failed to renew mining licences for seven companies that had mining concessions in Chiadzwa forcing operational closure of Anjin, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company (DMC), Jinan, Gye Nyame and Kusena whose diamond mining licences had expired in 2015.
Mliswa said a former diamond mining company in Marange approached parliament with a Supreme Court ruling which authorised them to resume diamond mining operations.
“One of the diamond mining houses wrote to the clerk of parliament, and copied me, saying we have a Supreme Court ruling which says we must go back. We have parliament ruling which says we must go back, but we have not gone back. The executive has ignored that and they have gone and come up with a diamond policy,” he said.
In June this year, the Supreme Court ruled that government was obliged to re-licence Mbada Diamonds and other affected firms. ENDS//