The Mutoko community has called on mining companies which are into black granite stone mining to give back to the community through corporate social responsibility interventions.
Mutoko, known for its vast black granite deposits, lies 143 kilometres north east of Harare and several companies have over the years exploited the granite deposits.
However, the people of Mutoko say they have not benefited much from the resource.
The public relations officer for Mutoko Natural Stone, a black granite mining company, Dr Edward Muvuro, said they were carrying out several projects to benefit the villagers. “We built three blocks at Makochera Primary School and three blocks are being built at Kowo Secondary School.
“Mutoko area has problems of water during summer seasons and we also drilled boreholes for the community and at Kowo School as well,” he said. Chief Mutoko said the mineral appears to have become a curse to his people.
“We are not benefiting anything from these miners. They are just taking away our precious stones. We want them to also develop the community.
“We have clinics and schools which are under-developed and they have to look after those developments. They are not even taking care of the roads they use to transport black granite.
“They are only putting humans and livestock at risk as they leave pits without filling them after mining,” Chief Mutoko said.
Mutoko North, for example, has 43 schools and of these, 25 are primary schools 19 of which do not have access to water. Eight do not have electricity. Three clinics in the constituency do not have running water.
Mutoko Rural District Council chairperson Mr Christopher Karimazondo said the local authority was encouraging mining companies to support social investment.
“To tell you the truth about black granite mining, Mutoko RDC is not benefiting enough. As we talk now, benefits are heavily outweighed by disadvantages.
“Corporate social responsibility is at a very minimal level which is not favourable to our communities.
“The major challenge in corporate social responsibility is the time of implementation.
“It’s taking almost a decade to complete a project and a good example is Gurure Clinic which two companies have pledged to support financially but for 11 years, they have failed to complete the projects,” said Mr Karimazondo.
Affirmative Action Group (AAG) Mashonaland East deputy chairperson Mr Lincoln Matare urged black granite miners to give back the community.
“As AAG Mashonaland East, we want granite miners to do corporate social responsibility programmes and we are behind these investors as they create employment to youths,” he said.