…. corruption, mismanagement doom noble initiatives
By Shingirai Vambe
The Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment recently went on a fact-finding mission on community share ownership schemes being funded by platinum miners Zimplats in Mhondoro-Ngezi and Unki in Shurugwi where it was realised that nothing much was being done with the money meant for community development.
Committee members attacked the Mhondoro-Ngezi and Shurungwi Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT) board of trustees of mismanaging millions of dollars released by the two giant miners for community projects.
Zimplats management proved that indeed, money was released to the trust and that the companies continued to work with their local communities for development.
It was revealed that Zimplats employed over 6000 local university graduates as well as other people from the Mhondoro-Ngezi community.
It was, however, noticed that there was no transparency and accountability in the way funds released to the trust were being managed especially with regards to the US$10 million released by Zimplats.
“The amount of money we are talking about here doesn’t equate with what is happening on the ground. The buildings we see are substandard meaning the funds are being abused,” said committee member Maybe Mbowa.
The following day, the team proceeded to Shurugwi Unki where management gave a splendid presentation on what they were doing for their communities including the release of US$10 million to the CSOT.
The committee members were then led to Msasa Primary, some 20km away from Unki, where part of the money was used to build the school.
The school is well-built and it has all the facilities which can cater for the disabled in both classrooms and toilets.
“There are many projects that we are doing in the 24 wards that we have and Msasa Primary School is just but once of the evidence. We have been trying to drill boreholes but Zinwa asks us to pay $30 for each borehole. Where do we get that money from and is there any justification for that?” said Chief Banga who is one of the trustees.
Members of the CSOT claimed that they bought a borehole drilling vehicle, a grader and a 10-tonne truck to help in the community.
However, people said they have never seen any grader which was being claimed by the trustees but acknowledged that they had seen a borehole rig. They also complained that they were being made to pay $3 for every 50kg of grain carried by the community truck.
A female community member also said people had expected part of the money to be used to construct a hospital as the nearest medical facility was Shurugwi General Hospital some 15km away.
Another one complained that if the community indeed had a grader, then the local roads especially those in Chief Banga’s area would not be that bad.
The parliamentary committee is expected to visit the Marange community in the coming days to assess the CSOT of the diamond-producing area.
The Community Share Ownership Schemes were introduced back in 2010 by then Youth and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere to compel foreign companies to share their profits with their communities.
The initiative has however been plagued by corruption, mismanagement and politicisation, with local Zanu PF Members of Parliament (MPs) being involved in the administration of trust funds.