There is no policy in the Mines and Mineral Act that specifically considers people living with disabilities (PLWDs). The loan facilities set up by the government are not targeted to the disabled community who aspire to be in the mining sector, hence this is a barrier for them to venture into the mining industry. As such the government has failed to implement a pragmatic and decisive approach to curb these unfair operations in this sector.
Mirirai Melissa Ngoya
People living with disabilities are not being recognized in the mining sector of Zimbabwe. Being cast off at the mercy of social welfare, it is high time for the Zimbabwean government promote this esteemed group so that it completely benefits from the nation’s resources.
It is crucial for the government of Zimbabwe to create a conducive environment for Plwds creating easy access for them to venture in the mining sector.
“The government should create an enabling environment for Plwds assisting them to secure a living. In the mining industry they should be equipped with all they need especially mining equipment, expertise training them on mining management,” Said the National secretary of Plwds Mr Moses Marufu.
The government has not rendered special loans to the disabled leading to a conclusion that these individuals are not being considered.
Marufu said, “at Fidelity Printers and refiners loans for mining equipment are hard to come by because there are only policies for women and youths non-special for Plwds.”
The national secretary of PLWDS added on saying, “loan facilities suggested that they want the government to domesticate the convention of the rights of people with disabilities so that Plwds have the means to production.”
People living with disabilities are facing technical discrimination in striving to be inducted into the mining sector as opined by Moses Marufu.
“High fees to access mining claims and paperwork is technical discrimination leaving us at the mercy of some charity organization as if we are not human beings worthy of enjoying the Zimbabwean benefits.”
Adding on, Mr Marufu highlighted that the disabled are experiencing financial classism since bank loans are inaccessible and the demands are too high considering that people living with disabilities are financially marginalized.
“It will be good if we get rates and government guarantor ships or even grants for mining initiatives for Plwds. There is also a need for the government to create quota systems in mining with full equipment payable over a certain period… we have been discriminated against,” insisted the national secretary of PLWDS.
Consequently, people who are physically challenged are finding solace in the Zimbabwean streets asking for financial assistance from the public in a bid to sustain a living. Therefore, the government should consider these individuals and create conducive ways for them to be incorporated into the formal sectors of the Nation.
The government of Zimbabwe must implement policies that will take heed of the plight of the disabled and begin to appreciate these esteemed people who are not only able but proficient and innovative. Laws that protect these individuals from all forms of discrimination must be fostered.
The national secretary for the disabled alluded, “the current crop of the disabled are educated and they are keen to partake in socio-economic activities unlike in the past where we were put in the peripheries of economic activities and regarded as social welfare cases.”
“The government through the Zimbabwe miners Federation (ZMF) and the chamber of mines should implement deliberate laws, policies as well awareness campaigns so that the disabled can effectively contribute to the country’s GDP,” consolidated the National chairperson.
There is an urgent need for the government to put in place new laws and policies in the mining sector so as to accommodate the disabled.