Women call for improved policies in farm and mine claim allocation

Women in Bubi have called on policy makers to craft clear policies on farm and mine claim allocations, amid concerns that double allocation is creating a rift between mine claims owners and communal farmers.

This emerged during the 10th Edition of the Zimbabwe Mining Indaba, which kicked off in Bulawayo on Monday. The meeting was organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)

A miner from Bubi District who identified herself as Mrs Ndlovu said most of their land claims had been turned into farms, with some already have built house on them saying that they have not received much help with regards to getting their land back.

By Minenhle Moyo

She added that women’s lives were at risk as the Machete gangs targeted women due to their feminine nature. She said this was due to gross incompetence displayed by law enforcers who are working along with these gang members.

“The problem that we have in Bubi is that there have been community members who have been given our land to settle. This has left us unable to operate because we cannot even chase these people away.

“Women’s lives are also at risk due to these Machete gangs. We are however, helpless because the police work with men, if we report them, the policeman goes off to tell on us and nothing is done at the end of the day”, she said.

A farmer who identified himself as Costor Moyo said the unending conflicts between farmers and miners needed immediate resolution and called on policy makers to craft laws that will ensure that both industries work well without one working at the expense of the other.

“You will realise that the job of a miner entails that a lot of soil is dug from the ground and left like that. This then means that the farmer is no longer able to do their job because the soil will no longer be fit for farming. I therefore, call on policy makers to look at this issue as soon as possible so that we can both operate to our full capacity”, said Moyo.

The mining and the farming sectors are both regarded as productive and one of the main injectors of revenue in the country’s economy, however if not resolved these conflicts could cause a decline in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A young miner from Gwanda, Thubelihle Sibanda highlighted lack of appropriate machinery and technology as another problem that women and youths face in their line of trade. She urged the government to prioritise subsidising mining machinery in order to assist small scale miners in realising improved returns.

“Lack of machinery and technology has been a constraint for us in this trade. I call upon the government to acquire and subside machinery at affordable prices so that we can also improve our trade”, she said.

Although many women miners present at the meeting were in consensus that their representation in parliament did not push for the protection of women in the mining industry, a Member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development Jasmine Toffa encouraged women to bring their issues to the parliament in order for them to be resolved amicably.

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