THE Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Matabeleland North, Cde Richard Moyo, has dispelled fears that villagers in Dinde in Hwange will be evicted to make way for a coal mining project.
Cde Moyo, who was responding to concerns raised by villagers who are locked in an impasse with Chinese company, Beifer Investment over a coal project in the area during a meeting held on Thursday in Dinde, said no one will be evicted from their land.
“If you recall when President Mnangagwa came into office he visited China where he wooed various investors after the West imposed sanctions on us. He managed to bring the investors some of them being this company. It is the President’s vision that everyone benefits from these resources. A total of 23 companies were registered in Hwange District to mine coal which is a huge development when it comes to the country and community,” he said.
Cde Moyo said at the moment the company was conducting exploration.
“So exploring does not necessarily mean that they have been granted permission to mine. So let’s allow them to explore and when they are done we can then discuss further,” he said.
Following the protracted stand-off between villagers and the Chinese company which began in 2019, after villagers blocked exploration works, the Government decided to intervene to break the impasse. Cde Moyo said if the exploration results come out positive, affected villagers will be accorded a chance to approve or disapprove the project.
“Whoever is going to be affected will be built a state-of-the-art house because we will be there to supervise the company. The President does not want to leave anyone behind when it comes to development. After exploration is done and before a certificate for mining is issued all stakeholders including the community will meet again and come up with an agreement,” he said.
Cde Moyo said investors must also ensure that communities benefited first from natural resources as espoused in the Devolution regulations.
“For companies that fail to perform their corporate social responsibilities we will ask for the revocation of their permits. Our schools and clinics as well as various infrastructure need to reflect that we have mines that are working in the district. We will not tolerate a situation where investors come and loot resources leaving our communities poor,” he said.
Dinde Residents Association secretary Mr Barnabas Dube said they feared that they will be evicted from their land to accomodate mining operations, hence engagements with Government. Sunday News