Small scale miners pay tribute to National Heroes, Defence Forces

04 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Small scale miners  pay tribute to National Heroes, Defence Forces

The Chronicle

Oliver Kazunga, Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) says it treasures the Heroes Day and Defence Forces Day as the holidays honour heroes who brought economic emancipation of the indigenous people who are now able to participate in different sectors of the economy.

Zimbabwe celebrates Heroes Day on Monday, August 8, 2022 while the country will observe the Defence Forces Day the following day.

Defence Forces Day

Heroes Day is a public holiday set aside on the second Monday of August every year to celebrate Zimbabwe’s gallant heroes and heroines both living and departed who fought the liberation war to free the country from the yoke of white settler rule.

On the other hand, the Defence Forces Day is also celebrated on the Tuesday after the Defence Force Day in honour of the restive efforts by the country’s defence forces in ensuring that peace and tranquility prevails in the country.

It is in this context that ZMF, which is the mother body of the artisanal and small-scale miners in the country, says indigenous people have been involved in the mining sector, operation and  ownership, which was previously a preserve of the whites.

ZMF secretary for women affairs Ms Jessica Mazivazvose said they were now able to participate in mining activities, because of the economic freedom brought by the gallant liberation war fighters and the work of the defence forces that continue to defend Zimbabwe’s territorial integrity for peace and tranquility to prevail.

“We really appreciate Heroes Day and Defence Forces Day because our selfless and gallant fighters fought for our liberation.

“Prior to the attainment of Independence which brought economic emancipation which we cherish today, we were under oppression to the extent that we were not even allowed to know much about our minerals.

“But because now that we have been liberated it’s now easy for us to work in the extractive industry and even holding precious minerals such as gold, previously women were not even allowed to participate in mining activities,” she said.

It was sort of a taboo to hear that a woman is involved in mining activities.

But now through the Independence that came as a result of the fight by our heroes, everyone can mine, be it a man or a woman it’s easy for us to mine.”

Before Independence, she said indigenous black people were regarded as labourers in mines and farms where they earned paltry wages and salaries.

“I recall when my father during that time was working at a mine, he was earning a meagre $10 for the whole month.

“But now for example, in my case through mining, l managed to build a house because of the economic freedom that these people both living and fallen fought for, tirelessly to liberate this country.

“As indigenous businesspeople should appreciate the Heroes and Defence Forces holidays because without the freedom that we are enjoying today, we couldn’t be participating in different economic sectors,” said Ms Mazivazvose.

In light of the peace prevailing in the country, she said the Government should go a step further by ensuring that women are allocated more mining claims to broaden economic empowerment to the once marginalised gender.

The Government has adopted the “use-it-or lose it” policy where it seeks to repossess all unused mining claims that have been held by the owners for speculative reasons and reallocate the titles to prospective and productive investors.

Under the first phase of implementing the use-it-or-lose-it policy, the Government targeted to repossess 213 mining claims across the country, but progress on the initiative has been bogged down by some mining title holders who have approached the courts to block the process.

Through the Mines and Minerals Act, the Government is empowered to repossess idle mining claims.

In 2021, over 80 mining claims out of the 213 identified mining titles were repossessed under the first phase of the initiative.

In Zimbabwe’s mining sector, small-scale miners have been able to participate in sub-sectors such as gold, chrome and semi-precious minerals like beryl, aquamarine and agate, among others.

“We would want the Government to allocate more claims to women as part of a broader economic empowerment initiative to women who were previously marginalised.

“We would also want the Government to address challenges such as delays in payment after delivering our gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.

We need to be paid instantly after delivering to Fidelity not to wait for some days before getting paid because that is also affecting our production because we need the money at times to pay suppliers for mining consumables that require cash up front.

“As it is right now, after delivering the gold to Fidelity, it takes up to five days before payment is made.

No concrete reason has been given as to why there have been delays in that regard,” said Ms Mazivazvose.

Mr Peter Magaramombe

Efforts to get a comment from Fidelity Printers and Refiners general manager Mr Peter Magaramombe were futile as his mobile phone was not being answered.

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