Chipo Chaumba Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association senior programmes officer, Nyaradzo Mutonhori, says it is high time civil society organisations take an action-oriented approach on the implementation of constitutional provisions which call for transparency in the mining sector.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting to discuss pertinent challenges, opportunities, and progress on the management of state owned enterprises in the mining sector, Mrs Mutonhori said there is need to improve on accountability and transparency in the mining sector.
“We all know that there is a problem in terms of transparency and secrecy surrounding the mining sector and mineral resource governance particularly in relation to mining revenues in Zimbabwe. We have been saying this for a long time.”
Mrs Mutonhori said civil society organisations should connect the Auditor General’s reports and members of the public by playing or facilitatory role through unpacking the auditor general’s reports.
“Every year, the auditor general produces a report and we notice parastatals and enterprises in the Government failing to perform and when this information is provided, as civil society organisations we ask ourselves what are we doing to simplify and unpack so that the public can understand, translate the information and interpret it in a manner relating to the documents.’’
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association’s work cuts across different environmental sectors such as mining, forest management, wildlife management services and land for urban agriculture among others.
Speaking at the same event Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, chairperson Mr Edmond Mkaratigwa said Parliament, through its oversight work, shall take the matter up with the relevant stakeholders with the ultimate goal that there should be transformation in the way parastatals are operating.
“It is worrying that at some of the country’s parastatals there has been destruction of property, fraud and theft of public funds hence depriving the fiscus of the much needed revenue and such behaviour has been attributed to lack of ethical leadership and poor governance systems in place among others,” said Mr Mukaratigwa.
“As a result, you find those parastatals and their subsidiaries recording losses one year after another. This has to stop and our parastatals, including those under the Ministry of Mines need to start making meaningful contributions to the fiscus.”
Richard Ncube, a legal officer with ZELA, said legislators should guarantee that mining companies carry through the constitutional clauses that demand them to be crystal clear.