Chaminuka Rural District Council (RDC) in Shamva has accused the Mines Ministry of dubiously allocating mining claims on land earmarked for commercial projects.
Council chairperson Nevson Zhizhinji revealed this at a stakeholders’ meeting.
“We are having problems with one miner, one Mazembe who was given a prospecting licence and allocated a mining claim on land that was gazetted as commercial stands about four years ago. Businesspeople had already begun constructing their business premises,” Zhizhinji said.
The dispute arose after Mazembe, who was recently issued a mining licence at Bent Farm, threatened to demolish shops, a clinic and church building under construction and refused audience with the council, saying he had higher connections.
Zhizhinji added that the stands were pegged a long time ago, in accordance with Lands ministry statutes.
“These stands were pegged years back with other commencing construction. Mazembe began fencing off the area and operating at night after he was issued mining papers, but after complaints were raised we were ordered to stop, of which as council we obliged,” he said.
“To our surprise, he didn’t receive any letter to stop operations; he continued to pump money on disputed land.
That is when all this chaos started.”
Mashonaland Central provincial mines director Tariro Ndlovu said his office was aware of the conflict.
“We had a meeting yesterday where you gave us your grievances, now we are going to compare what is on the ground and on paper and decide on what needs to be corrected,” he said.
Bent Farm was gazetted as a business centre in 1995, however, the policy shift on land use is causing confusion in the community and local authority.