Midlands Mines Cadastre Officer Pikirai Macheza in his quest of trying to create an accurate and verified database has come under fire from Prospectors and small-scale miners who are accusing him of trying to arm-twist prospectors, threatening not to accept their work, which is against the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act.
Macheza is being accused of undermining peggers through his claims that peggers are not qualified to carry out the verification process, therefore, should exercise their work with the blessings of a surveyor.
Macheza is alleged to be a land surveyor by profession and he is accused of trying to create opportunities for people in his profession.
Peggers groups were on fire with members rebuking Macheza.
One said, “This is ridiculous for sure. It’s going to make us busybodies for nothing. Gweru must adopt what is happening in other provinces without trying to be too flamboyant. All those who pegged in the Gweru mining district with the help of the association must fight this modus operandi tooth and nail.”
Another said, “Anenge ave neimwe mines and minerals act yake yekumba kwake.” (he seems to have his own personal mines and minerals act).
While another castigated the move saying,”The Ministry has gone to the dogs. Isu during our time we used to have MC’s conference every year that’s why u(you) used to c (see) kuti zvaiitwa kuKadoma was the same nezvaiitwa kuByo we had standard operating procedures”
Macheza in a widely shared audio said peggers although written to, to carry out the exercise there were not qualified.
“The point is peggers are not qualified to do the written exercise although we wrote to them that they carry out the process, they are not qualified.”
“We don’t want to create disputes,” he said.
According to Hyde Chatyoka, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Hon Winston Chitando is supposed to look into the matters raised by Macheza and correct them because the Midlands cadastre officer was misapplying the law.
“This idea of inviting miners and their peggers will create more needless disputes which will spill into the courts and the courts will re-affirm and force the Act to be applied. Your office, Honourable Minister, must seek legal advice in trying to apply the Act and issue instructions to miners in accordance with the Act and not in accordance with their titles no matter the excitement of office and honour of office.
“I repeat, the only constant office and host sanctioned by the Act is that of a miner whose mine title is current. All other officials are the miner’s guests for a certain term and once that term is over, the miner will cease to host whichever official and welcome the new official. So as far as is practically possible, our guests must not seek to scuttle the order by conflicting with the Act. We, therefore, pray for our guests to behave and act mannerly as guests and never imitate to be hosts. Our hope is to host many subsequent guests and we wish we will not be forced to pray for the abolition of any office.
“The Act is very clear and has been supported and buttressed by court judgements for over sixty years. It says in a mining rights dispute, the rights are given to the prior miner. In this case, the correct procedure to follow which cannot be overturned in court on transferring mine titles from monologue to digital is to follow the ‘Mines Register’ in office and confirm, transfer and convert mine titles in accordance with the dictates of the register. The only diversion which is legally acceptable in this exercise is to skip forfeited mines,” he said.
In his effort to create a cadastre system that is accurate, verified and dispute free, Macheza proposed the following instrument to prospectors in the Province.
Methodology in the implementation of claims beacon coordinates collection program.
Surveyors & peggers
Aim for the exercise
- To accurately collect coordinate data for database creation from all ground verified registered claims.
- It is very possible that due to human error some mine locations might be based on uncaptured coordinates, pointing that, documented coordinates in the office of ministry (MMMD) are supposed to be compared to what is on the ground before we adopt such beacon coordinates into the Cadastre Database.
- There is quite a number of disputes and for all the districts of Midlands Province that need to be settled by resolving the boundary issue. This exercise will give an opportunity to neighbouring personnel to witness each other’s beacons location thereby resolving disputes.
- Clients may deliberately choose to shift beacons to undocumented positions hence this exercise would bring an added advantage of checking beacons like what the Mines and Minerals Act demands that beacons are supposed to be inspected regularly by MMMD officials.
- A team to approach a miner for this exercise should be comprising a surveyor and pegger. The team members should share the duties and do due diligence if contracted to bring the coordinates to ministry offices. It is the responsibility of a surveyor to guide the execution of the methodology applied.
- The team should ask for verified coordinates from a miner.
- The team should then check the coordinates of existing beacons.
- If there are no beacons the team liaise with the miner to reintroduce the beacons.
- Then the team is supposed to write at most a two-page report with the structure to be given. The report should articulate the state of beacons such that the mining claim can be visited by Mine Survey officers to verify the reconstruction of the beacon.
- The report has to be signed by the client, surveyor and pegger.
- The report should be printed in 2 hard copies where one copy is given to the miner/client. The second copy is supposed to go for filing by the surveying team (pegger & surveyor) in their own office. The cadastre office would therefore receive the scanned report together, with an excel coordinates list via an email.
- The excel list should only capture ground verified coordinates (the ones in the official docket of the mine). The report captures the observed coordinates of beacons on the ground.
- When a miner is coming to the office for inspection, we shall then compare his/her report with the one in our email then we ascertain that the exercise was surely done.
- If the area is heavily congested with mine claims, if possible, always call the neighbours to witness the exercise, this will ensure that every potential dispute is ironed out or is given a chance to surface then resolved through such a report (because Mine Survey Section take from there).
Expected results of the exercise
- Creation of an accurate and verified database.
- Dispute free database and digital master block plan can be accurately plotted.
- Then master block plan would be then plotted on a national standard approved topographical map
- The issuance of services in digital format can be easily adopted
- All the behaviour of deliberately shifting the beacons can be resolved
- The state enforcement on disputes would be easily managed hence more revenue
When contacted for comment Macheza said he isn’t allowed to speak to the Media. Mines Ministry officials were not available for comment at the time of publishing.