Zela is a local organisation that promotes rights of poor communities to drive economic benefits from natural resources found in their areas and fights against exploitation by multinational and domestic companies involved in the extraction of such resources.
Mutuso Dhliwayo, director of Zela, said the poorly negotiated contracts have failed to unlock value to the country and thereby failing to add value to the communities.
“The contracts are poorly negotiated and do not benefit the country and the communities, yet the mining companies are looting the resources.”
He attributed the problem to the old and archaic legal framework governing the mining sector.
“The Mines and Mineral Act of 1961 is an old colonial act which can no longer address socio-cultural, environmental and economic issues associated with mining in the modern day. We need a new act and the 1961 Act has to go as of yesterday.”
He said negotiations ofthe contracts must be done with input from parliament, communities and other stakeholders.
Zela projects coordinator Gilbert Makore applauded the Community Ownership Scheme Trusts but was quick to add that a lot more still needed to be done for communities to benefit from such projects.
The scheme is a government initiative to empower rural communities by giving them a 10% stake in companies that exploit natural resources in their areas.
— By Rutendo Mawere