BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ALL that remains are memories of a good life and happy marriage. The 50-year-old Chegutu miner Mambo Jenami enjoyed a good life before government took away his mining claim.
Jenami, a father of nine, invested heavily on his gold mining claim in Chegutu, but a near fatal car accident, which left him wheelchair-bound, has brought misery and pain.
“I lost everything — marriage, income and a good life,” Jenami narrated the sad tale of events that led to the seizure of his mining claim.
Jenami told The Standard that he started mining operations in 2012. Unfortunately, on January 30, 2014 he was involved in a near-fatal accident which saw him hospitalised for three months with a shattered hip, broken rib, and several injuries on his legs.
On discharge from hospital, Jenami was confined to a wheelchair for three years until November 2017 when he started using crutches.
“Then in August 2018, I was able to start walking normally though I am still limping,” he said, struggling to contain his emotions.
“During this period, I sent my guys to report my misfortune to the then mining commissioner Mr Manyange at the Ministry of Mines office in Kadoma and he promised to make sure the mine would not be forfeited, though verbally.”
This year Jenami, whose mine is located in Pickstone in Chegutu, said he went to enquire about outstanding payments at the ministry with the intention to pay up, but was told someone had re-pegged the place.
“I booked an appointment to see the provincial mining director and was told to write a report, which I did but surprisingly it was rejected on the basis that someone had re-pegged the claim,” he said.
“My surprise is that no one came to the mine because I have workers, who have been staying there in the compound that I built and who have been looking after the equipment during my absence. No inspection, no nothing, but someone re-pegged my claim,” he said.
“I lost my marriage, I lost income, I lost everything and now it’s the claim itself, which I have invested heavily in, including hammer mills, which I bought but never used.”
Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) CEO Wellington Takavarasha confirmed meeting Jenami and said they were trying to assist him where possible to recover his mine.
“We are trying to assist from a humanitarian point of view, not that it’s mandatory,” Takaravasha said. “Those statutory fees are supposed to be paid by all miners.”
ZMF is an umbrella body of small-scale miners in the country.
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Onesimo Moyo urged Jenami to write a letter to his ministry explaining his issue, but said “normally when a mine is forfeited, it’s difficult to get it back”.
Small-scale miners account for more than 60% of gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, which is an arm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Gold is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign currency earners, having accounted for US$1,3 billion in annual forex receipts in 2019, translating close to a third of total export earnings.
Last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched a strategic roadmap to propel the country’s mining sector to a US$12 billion industry by 2023.
Under the mining roadmap, gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion, while chrome, iron, steel, diamonds and coal contribute US$1 billion.
Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million and US$1,5 billion would come from other minerals.
Jenami, as a miner, wishes to play a part towards the realisation of a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.
“I am stressed and wondering if I will get help to restore my mine so that I continue with work.
“I lost everything during my incapacitation and was hoping to revive my life through mining, but spanners have been thrown by heartless people,” he said.