Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:38 am
January 23, 2013
ENVIRONMENTAL Management Authority (EMA) board chairman Sheunesu Mpepereki yesterday urged villagers in areas with mineral resources countrywide to resist an “invasion” by Chinese miners, saying they are destroying the environment.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
Mpepereki was leading EMA board members who were assessing environmental damages caused by illegal mining in Umzingwane district in Matabeleland South.
“What we are saying is, villagers should organise themselves and drive off the Chinese who are taking over resources.
“We want to see if there is any minister or government official who will send in the police and soldiers to bomb you and at the same time protect the foreigners,” said Mpepereki.
“There is too much degradation of the land by these people who seem only to be keen on extracting resources, but not rehabilitating the land.
“Resist the Chinese in the same way the Svosve community did at the start of the land reform until some people in Harare noticed that it was community resistance. Organise yourselves and camp at the mines.
“The President and Cabinet will not come down here and put up a resistance for you.
“Don’t even listen to these educated people in suits who will talk about paper work. It’s time for action.”
Mpepereki said he was aware that some sections of the community would be quick to dismiss his statements as sensational.
He said he had met the late Vice-President John Nkomo and briefed him on the environmental degradation caused by foreign firms’ mining activities.
Mpepereki said he was also shown a mining permit granted to Russians in Penhalonga which was personally signed by President Robert Mugabe, but the foreign firm was not following mining laws.
“I asked Nkomo, who we buried yesterday (Monday), if they were aware of the environmental impact posed by the foreign mining firms,” he said.
“I told him that I was shown a mining permit by the Russians mining in Penhalonga which was signed by RG, the President himself.
“Nkomo then asked me if the same permit also gave them the right not to follow the mining laws of the country.
“Nkomo said we must monitor mining activities.”
Umzingwane Rural District Council chief executive officer Ndumiso Mpofu said the mining activities were damaging the environment and the Chinese were not willing to co-operate.
“Each time you engage them, they pretend not to understand English and refer you to someone in Harare.
“I once got a call from a very powerful person — I would not mention names here — and was ordered not to interfere with the Chinese firm (Tapin Private Limited).”
Mpofu said the locals, mostly gold panners, were giving the local authority sleepless nights as they were demanding to know why the Chinese were allowed to mine at their expense.
Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:34 pm
This is entirely correct! Will start a new thread regarding the Chinese Colonisation...