- May 6, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Gweru Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is reportedly refusing annual inspection fee payments which have miners fearing forfeiture. The Ministry is allegedly demanding the miners get approval from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, then exemption letters from Mines Ministry before any inspection is done.
Distraught miners have been contacting Mining Zimbabwe from Gweru since the 30th of April 2020. We first contacted the PMD Office cell number last week sent a message seeking clarity and correct procedures that are to be taken. The Whatsapp message indicated it was read but not responded to. Yesterday we called the number which went unanswered and subsequently switched off.
A miner we shall refer to as Tonderai said “We are having grave challenges getting service from Gweru Ministry of Mines. They have been refusing myself and over 20 of my fellow miners to pay for our annual inspection. We risk our businesses forfeiting because of this. I don’t know who else to talk to”.
“Apparently they want us to first get approval from the Ministry of Health and then also exemption from the Ministry of Mines. We have not refused to do so but if we fail to pay Ministry inspection fees then we lose our business to forfeiting. All other districts have no problem except us in Gweru. Mr Nelson Munyanduri has instructed all his juniors not to assist anybody with inspection of mining claims. As far as we are aware this is illegal”.
Another miner lamented how he has been up and down to the Ministry for about a month and told there was no price gazetted for mine inspection. When he went back to the Ministry on the 30th of April he was advised the price had now been gazetted but he has to be compliant or risk losing his claims.
The Miner said, ” I was told that I cannot renew my annual inspection until I have complied. I told the people at mines department that I want to pay for my claim firstly because it has expired and I’ve been up and down to the Gweru mines department for almost 1 month and been told that there is no price for inspection of a claim with a dump as of yet. I then heard that this past Friday a price was then established and today Thursday 30 April I was told they cannot inspect the claim or renew until I am compliant and risk my claim forfeiting. As I am aware this is very illegal and not professional of the PMD and his associates at ministry of mines Gweru. It is my right as a miner to pay for my claims and renew them annually”.
Zimbabwe is under lock-down in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 virus which has claimed four lives and 34 confirmed cases. Some miners had not been operating from the announcement of the first lockdown as they could not access exemption letters.
As operations resume miners are faced with a task of forking out around US$25 a test kit only payable in foreign currency. It is now a requirement that all companies test their workforce before the commencement of operations.
Meanwhile, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Mr Henry Ruzvidzo said while some businesses did not open after struggling to interpret the lockdown developments, the health sector was also not ready to immediately handle enquiries from industrialists.
Ruzvidzo said, “The issue of testing has been received with mixed reactions with many not sure on the effectiveness and benefit of the rapid tests from a company perspective. The precondition for the tests is seen as a major challenge for the timely resumption of business activities as indications have shown challenges in the readiness of public health institutions to conduct the tests”.
“Tests at private institutions might have cost challenges as well as the limited number of institutions that have been accredited so far. Business hopes that Government will consider extending the coverage of the $18 billion stimulus fund to include the cost of testing,” said Mr Ruzvidzo.
This may lead to delays in miners getting Health clearances whilst fears of forfeiture give the miners sleepless nights. ZMF spokesman Dosman Mangisi said he was investigating and following up on the issue but had not provided any feedback by the time of writing this article.