Source: Minister decries natural resources’ exploitation | The Herald November 1, 2017
Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu Bulawayo Bureau
THE Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs, Ambassador Aaron Maboyi, has urged local authorities within the province to put in place by-laws to guard against the exploitation of natural resources at the expense of locals. In an interview, Ambassador Maboyi said private cattle buyers were duping villagers while outsiders were exploiting mopane worms which were found in the province.
He said local authorities needed to put in place measures to control these activities. “People are being exploited very badly through activities of private cattle buying in communal areas. These buyers don’t follow the principles of public auctioning and they organise their own auctions where they buy cattle at low prices.
“On the other hand, we have outsiders that flock to the province and harvest mopane worms at the expense of locals. Local authorities have to put in place by-laws to guard against such activities. If these by-laws are already in existence, councils should enforce them to ensure that they don’t only exist on paper, but are implemented,” Ambassador Maboyi said.
He said there was a need for the resources to be protected as they were a main source of wealth for most locals. “Mopane worms are a major source of wealth in the province because this is the only area which produces them. This presents a great opportunity for locals to commercialise mopane worms, but unfortunately at the time of harvesting outsiders exploit the resource leaving locals with nothing. The outsiders harvest the mopane worms and don’t remit anything to council.
“Matabeleland South province is also rich in livestock production, but communal farmers are being short-changed by private buyers and they eventually get little money in return for their wealth,” Ambassador Maboyi said.
He said in South Africa mopane worms were being processed into stock feed while there was a ready market for mopane worms internationally, but it could only be viable once the harvesting process was controlled and supervised.
Ambassador Maboyi said there was also a need for local authorities to engage traditional and community leaders to assist them in enforcing by-laws. He said community leaders also have to be capacitated on the economic value of natural resources found in the province so that they guard them jealously. Bulilima Rural District Council chief executive officer, Mr John Brown Ncube, recently said they were struggling to contain illegal buying of cattle in the district as the police and other Government departments were allegedly facilitating this illegal activity by clearing animals purchased illegally. He said some private cattle buyers were also conducting cattle sales in the middle of the night to avoid paying levies to the local authority.