Centre for Natural Resources and Governance (CNRG) has engaged Hwange stake holders and aspiring member of parliament candidates in a meeting to discuss issues of extractives and development within the area.
In a lively engagement held at Hwange Colliery Hospital, residents demanded transparency from mining companies in their community stating that they are being marginalised as a community.
The engagement encompassed discussions on issues of land degradation, pollution and underdevelopment of the area.
Director for CNRG Farai Maguwu expressed need for those who represent Hwange locals in parliament to prioritise the development of the area.
“The primary role of the government is to manage resources for the people. As such locals must know whom they vote for. Engaging aspiring candidates will enable to have an insight of how much they appreciate the plight of the locals as far as extractives and development is concerned,” said Maguwu.
The residents expressed gratitude for the platform citing that they needed more of such to address their concerns to relevant authorities.
Robin Luphahla, a resident, said it is disheartening to learn that Hwange habors the only company in Zimbabwe that produces tar but its road are in a sorry state.
“We need Transparency on how much these companies are making versus how much they are contributing to our community. They must revise their policies, they have to be legally documented and in line with our country’s constitution. These policies should also bind the district administrator not to just render tenders hapharzadly,” said Luphahla.
He said although pollution caused by these companies affect everyone in the community, these companies limit themselves to taking care of their employees.
“As part of social responsibility for corperate companies, residents should be given access to health facilities as they are also affected by pollution caused by the companies. They should consider giving back to the community through sending our children assisting locals to get education,” he said.
Emmanuel Runyano, a local who worked at Hwange Colliery Company for 25 years rebuked the ignorance displayed by locals over their predicament.
“We should fight for our rights. We need to desist from politicising development issues. Devolution approach must enable development of this area. We can’t even drive our small cars due to the bad state of roads but these companies are no affected because they use bigger cars,” he said.