Mangwe RDC crafts new by-laws
Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief
MANGWE Rural District Council is working on new by-laws as part of efforts to, among other things, control access and utilisation of natural resources as well as help it recover potential revenue being lost through unregistered mining activities.
According to the Rural District Councils Act, the local authority is supposed to be collecting a mining levy from miners and land tax from farmers. Some of the players in these two sectors are not paying anything to the council.
Mangwe Rural District Council chief executive officer, Mr Bongani Ngwenya said the by-laws which are yet to be gazetted will help to regulate mining and farming activities in its area of jurisdiction.
He said the by-laws will also help to flush out illegal mining and help formalise the sector.
“We have been failing to collect proceeds from mining activities in the district as some of the miners are not in our database. The miners go straight to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and get licences, but we won’t be aware as a local authority, making it difficult to compile a database for the sake of collecting levies,” said Mr Ngwenya.
“We need a system that will bind miners so that they pass through council first before proceeding to other offices. We have drafted 34 by-laws and we hope they will assist us in improving the collection of mining levies among other issues.’
Mr Ngwenya said council is also losing a lot of money due to illegal mining.
“The district is endowed with minerals that can actually boost our revenue collection, but we are not getting the money,” he said.
Mangwe Rural District Council chairperson, Councillor Sindisiwe Nleya said the by-laws will also help to fight some of the predominant environmental harmful practices such as cutting of trees, sand poaching, and harvesting of mopane worms.
She said the local authority has established environmental management committees at the ward level to monitor and ensure that violators of environmental laws are brought to book.
Clr Nleya said the local authority will work closely with the local leadership to maintain a record of people or entities involved in the picking, collection or harvesting of mopane worms, fruits or other produce for sale in the council area.
She said controlled harvesting of mopane worms and other natural resources will help ensure that communities benefit from resources in their areas.
Clr Nleya said the by-laws will also regulate livestock marketing and the buying and selling of livestock. She said controlled buying and selling of livestock will also help fight stock theft cases emanating from illegal cattle sales.
“Some buyers have been coming into the district and conducting sales without the knowledge of the council. During these illegal cattle sales that’s when some stolen cattle are sold,” said Clr Nleya.
“There should be organised cattle sales which are conducted with the knowledge of the local authority. Council has to organise these sales and invite police and the Department of Veterinary Services to ensure that everything is above board.”
Livestock farmers from Matabeleland South Province have raised concerns over private cattle sales, saying buyers were underpaying them for their animals.
The purpose of cattle sales is to help farmers realise profits from the sale of their animals with the highest bidder buying at a lucrative price. Mushrooming of private buyers, corrupt officials, absence of a floor price, stock theft incidences, unfair grading of animals, and challenges in obtaining clearance permits among other challenges have left farmers in despair.