BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) says it has started investigating the black granite mining industry in Mutoko following reports that local authorities were being paid peanuts in taxes by mining companies.
Mutoko Rural District Council claims that it is getting a paltry US$1 per tonne of black granite mined from the area.
This was revealed during a Youth Initiative for Community Development anti-corruption symposium held recently in Mutoko.
Zacc prevention and corporate governance acting general manager Munyaradzi Magiga said there was need to investigate the granite mining industry to plug loopholes and ensure that communities benefit from their natural resources.
“We do have those with loads of money getting claims ahead of those who applied for the same for some time. It is disturbing to hear that the local authority (Mutoko) is getting a dollar per tonne of granite. Surely a dollar? We need to investigate and see if this is not corruption by multinational companies,” he said.
“The granite blocks are going out and we will never recover them. It is a pity that you see a school with thatched roofs near a granite mine, yet council is getting nothing.”
Mutoko is one of the poorest districts in the country despite being home to several granite mining companies.
The granite blocks are exported to Europe, where they are processed into expensive building materials.
“The whole issue around the black granite is confusing. In Zimbabwe, the granite is being classified as quarry, but in Europe, it is a precious mineral. Our government should look into this matter and declare it a mineral,” said a villager.
The symposium was attended by local traditional leaders and youth representatives.