Artisanal miners in Gwanda have bemoaned the high level of corruption in the mining sector in the country which they say hinders the growth and development of the lucrative sector.
This came out during a community dialogue indaba with artisanal miners in Gwanda on Thursday organised by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ).
Cosmas Nyathi a miner said the double allocation of mining claims was a cause of concern in the mining town.
“There are people who fraudulently acquire prospecting licences and when you approach the surveyor to get your claim you are told that the land you identified belongs to someone else,” said Nyathi
“These people always pay the surveyor in advance so that they are given first preference to any new claim and if you voice out you risk your chances of being awarded a mining claim.”
Some of the miners also raised concern that there is no protection for whistleblowers in the mining legislation.
“The problem is that when you go and report illegal gold dealers, most of them work hand in hand with people in high offices and at the end of the day you become a victim.”
Another artisanal miner said one of the challenges in the sector is that critical information does not reach artisanal miners as most of them spend a lot of time underground.
“When artisanal miners are found in possession of gold, the first thing they do is pay up so that they are not arrested so I believe such information should filter down to the people who need to learn about corruption,” said Ndangiso Mbande
“Take the information to the relevant people then you can start talking about corruption, it does not help us to sit in this fancy hotel and address these issues when the people who are most affected are in the bushes mining, let us go to them.”
TIZ legal advisor Marylin Sibanda, said as they have conducted a research on mining so that they can also be able to observe corruption in their own capacity.
“As TIZ we have conducted a research on mining it is called the Mining Awards Corruption Risk Assessment (MARCA) were we observed corruption gaps in the sector and a few policy gaps and challenges,” said Sibanda.
She added that the current mining act has become obsolete as it does not speak to the current challenges faced by the sector.
“Laws were written in favor of the private interest as they were effected in 1964, the act is not in touch and context with what is happening today and the lack of standards in the timeline increase chances of corruption,” said Sibanda.
“If you apply for your license they do not tell you when it will be awarded to, even a prospectus license you do not know whether it will be out in a month or two weeks you just get it when they hand it to you and that is where corruption takes place.”