Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Government has ordered Bulawayo City Council to immediately cease mining activities at its Aisleby and Good Hope Farms as individuals and companies carrying out mining activities at the two farms do not meet the legal requirements.
The local authority resolved to lease out mining claims to 15 individuals and companies in November last year at Aisleby and Good Hope Farms.
The Director of Housing and Community Services, in the latest council report, revealed that the department was in receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development ordering a stop to activities at the mining claims.
“It has come to our attention that Bulawayo City Council has granted permission to certain individuals to carry out mining activities under lease that shall be for five (5) years subject to review on Council’s pleasure in the above mentioned farms which are reserved areas under Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.
The following applicants have not regularised and do not possess the requisite documents from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development…,” read the letter.
The ministry stated that all mining activities in reserved areas should proceed only through a Part XIX, Special Grant Application, Section 291-294 (2b), Mines and Minerals Act 21:05.
“On that note all mining operations at Aisleby and Good Hope farms should cease operations until all legal mining requirements are met,” ordered the Ministry through the letter.
On receipt of the letter, the local authority engaged the affected miners to regularise their documents with the ministry and cease operations.
Furthermore, many of the miners had complied with the leasing procedures and now had valid leases.
Among those that have been ordered to cease operations by the Ministry of Mines are Goodwill Sikupha, Vusa Mpofu, Eco mines, Nomathemba Tshuma, Crispen Ngwenya, Nokuthanda Masuku, Foreman Mapendu Ndlovu , BCC. Rangers, Earnastical Investment, Gift house, Martin K Moyo, Rehoboth Mining Syndicate, Oswell Dlamini and Five Survivors.
Meanwhile, the city’s Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube got away with a caution while former mayor, Alderman Martin Moyo has been found guilty of misconduct, with the city’s internal audit advising council to deal with the former Mayor in a manner they deem appropriate, regarding the awarding of mining claims to Mr Dube through his company Belmac Investments.
According to a confidential council report seen by The Chronicle, the Town Clerk was investigated for abuse of office by submitting an application for mining licences before Council had approved his application.
The investigators said the mining licence application was accompanied by a premature support letter from the former Mayor.
Auditors said there was poor judgment on the part of the Mayor in confirming an anticipated Council decision.
“He was compromised in this matter since he and the Town clerk were interested parties. The Mayor and the Town Clerk breached normal procedure by failing to report to Council the action they had taken,” read the audit report.
The auditors said the absence of a Code of Ethics may have contributed to the conduct of the parties involved in this matter and recommended that the Mayor and the Town Clerk be cautioned about their conduct.
“The city should develop a Code of Ethics to regulate the conduct of officials and councillors in the area of conflict of interests. The code should establish standards of conduct, disclosure and enforcement mechanism,” read the recommendations.
The local authority is on record saying mining is not council’s core activity as its main role is to provide an enabling environment for business, including mines to thrive. — @AuxiliaK