The government’s plan for the mining industry to earn at least US$12 billion by 2023 through the mining sector has been criticized for triggering a rise in Development-induced Displacement and Resettlements.
According to the Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe Coalition, the discovery of more mineral deposits and economic recovery prospects will see more villagers facing imminent displacement from their homes.
Addressing journalists in Harare, PWYP coordinator Joyce Machiri said the poor and disadvantaged face a torrid time as the government pushes these targets while land-based investments have caused people displacement and land grabbing.
“It is worth noting that as more and more mineral deposits are discovered in the country in pursuance of government’s plans to get US$12 billion from the mining industry by 2023 and to underpin the country’s economic recovery prospects, more and more cases of forced displacements are likely to arise in the coming years,” Machiri said.
She said the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1 and President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 were both dependent on attracting more mining investments into the country.
According to a study by the Africa Institute for Environmental Law, communities in Sese, a rural village 50km out of Masvingo live in perennial fear of displacement after the government awarded Murowa Diamond Company an exploration license for Kimber lite diamonds.
“There is a high possibility of displacement of communities in Hwange as a result of coal mining and in Murehwa, Mutoko, and Uzumba as a result of granite mining,” she said.
According to PWYP, Mining-Induced Displacement is increasing as a result of the increased allocation of mining rights in areas inhabited by rural households and the poor.
Examples include the Marange community where 4 321 families were affected and families from Chiadzwa village were relocated to the Arda Transau Relocation area.
Besides mining-induced displacements, Machiri noted cases in Chilonga, Chiredzi where a large agricultural project of growing Lucerne grass has displaced villagers.
The coalition said Induced Displacements and Resettlements constitute a major social problem and a challenge for the enjoyment of fundamental human rights that are enshrined in the Constitution.
Some mining investors have been accused of failing to pay adequate compensation, follow due process before relocation, and provide proper relocation facilities and services.
In that vein, the PWYP noted that the companies violate a litany of procedural and substantive environmental, social, economic, and cultural rights.
The situation is also worsened by the unavailability of title deeds over communal land.
The title is vested in the State and this makes the communal people vulnerable.