By Business Reporter – Tuesday 8 September 2020
LOCAL – HARARE (Mining Index) – THE Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) has expressed discontent over the way Rural District Councils (RDCs) are forcing miners to pay development levies prior to updating certificate of inspection with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
The RDC levy is paid annually and each local authority gazettes its own rate.
There has been a series of meetings between the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development together with the Ministry of Local Government in which the two agreed that it is now a prerequisite for miners to pay RDC Development Levies first before updating certificate of inspection with the Ministry of Mines.
In a letter written by ZMF dated 8th July 2020, addressed to Dr. Isaac Matsilele, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe, ZMF said this set up has been abused by most RDCs who are holding miners at ransom by charging miners development levies that are indiscriminately and ironically twice to ten-fold, far more than the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development inspection fees.
ZMF has however noted that the miners are not against paying the levies to RDC but strongly feel the new charges are unscrupulous.
The review of RDC levies by local authorities across the country has seen some local authorities charging levies in foreign currency, with miners in Kadoma indicating they received their statements with exorbitant charges pegged in USD.
A random survey by ZMF secretariat revealed that in July 2020, Bindura RDC was charging ZW$2 200 while Mazowe RDC charged ZW$4 500, way above the Ministry of Mines annual inspection fees for a ten-hectare claim currently pegged at ZW$1000.00, forcing miners across the country to complain bitterly about the levies that they are now required to pay.
The miners’ federation said it has always recommended at government forums that RDCs charge uniform levies throughout the whole country.
Rural District Council Act 29;13 (section 96 1a-e) requires owners of land within RDC jurisdiction to pay development levies. The Mines and Minerals Act cap 21:05 section 255 indicates that miners make certain payments to local authorities.
In a memo by ZMF Secretariat dated 3 September 2020 addressed to all miners, ZMF showed its displeasure at the way RDC fees are being handled saying;
“ZMF Executive and Management Board wishes to relay its dismay on the current set up which prescribes that miners are now required to pay Rural District Councils first before paying and updating for the certificate of inspection as required by Ministry of Mines and Mining Development,”
“ZMF wants to make it categorically clear that this set up is not a prescribed legal requirement but was a “gentlemen’s agreement” between Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and Ministry of Local Government,”
“This has adversely affected artisanal and small-scale mining operations administrative and logistical arrangements. The RDCs have their own system of getting payments from miners which does not necessarily ransom them,”
“We will continue to engage and dialogue with the relevant ministries until normalcy is brought back and miners pay dues at Ministry of Mines and Mining Development without the condition of paying RDC levies first,” said Wellington Takavarasha, ZMF CEO. ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw
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