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OBSERVING THE LAW CAN REDUCE FARMER -MINER CONFLICT

19 0ctober 2021

Compiled by Eunica Pabwaungana- Shurugwi Community Development Trust (SCDT)

Nature is observed through the power of God given to his people on the environment.  People are the stewards and should use the environment sustainably for the benefit of the present and future generation. There are different projects from which to earn a living but due to profits other project outweigh others and start interfering. A good example of such is a farmer and a miner where a miner needs land for mining projects and a farmer for farming projects. This scramble for land results in misunderstandings but only law can reduce this farmer- miner conflict.

On Monday the 11th of October 2021 Shurugwi community leadership gathered in the District Administration (DA) ‘s office in Shurugwi urban to discuss on the Helvitia Dzikamidzi and Selukwe Peak farm issues.

All farm committee representatives were asked to bring their respective land ownership documents and maps. The background of farms indicated that, Dzikamidzi model B and village 13 model A are old resettlements of 1986 whilst Peak farm is a fast track of 2000 having offer letters, The meeting started at 8 am and its purpose was to standardise and formalise the way on how the community can work with Investors. Stakeholders included Police, DA, Ministry of lands, Councillor’s ward 18 and 19, Environmental Community Paralegal, village heads from Dzikamidzi, village 13 and Peak farm.

The community from the Peak farm complained of the Indians who just came in their area and started mining without their consent. In approaching them, asking for EIA document, the Indians talked about confidentiality meaning they did not want to disclose their working status and also threatened the community declaring they will operate without their permission. They mentioned that they had permits f from ZINWA but to community surprise, they are extending their activities into their fields. Without consulting anyone from relevant authorities the community took actions in trying to block their operations to an extent of standing in front of the moving excavators and they succeeded. Lack of transparency between the community and relevant stakeholders was the main reason why they thought they are vulnerable to corrupt activities.  The community suspected the DA and others to be responsible for the corruption. They also stated that, as the investor is benefiting through mining, they should not disturb them in farming since this is their livelihood activities.

The DA highlighted that, as government everything they do is guided by the constitution and law, he is not there to tarnish anyone ‘s image but to raise awareness among community members on what to do and the proper channel when the investor comes into their community.  The community should be benefiting from mining and the farmer also benefiting through farming on the land. The DA promised to call the Estate management who knows the land value, compensation etc so that they can work together to approach the investors.

Ministry of lands highlighted that the community should not mistakenly ask any investor to make surveys in their fields. The 99-lease statutory instrument for resettlement schemes and cooperatives states that the land is for farming activities not for mining unless if applied for. No pegging in a farm which is 100 hectares and below without the farmer ‘s consent and no mining is done 400m from the farmer ‘s homestead. The Ministry of land and Mines use maps to identify boundaries. The officers said it is not too late for these them to help the community though the same community ignored them at first.  

The police accused the community of taking risk and falling prey to excavators when there are relevant offices who stand by them. He said this is illegal.

The Councillor complained that if the investor keeps on working some farmers will be disturbed meaning the investor will be responsible for compensating farmers.

The DA as the chair and most senior officer gave his closing remarks after EMA made an apology of what had happened.

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