THE REFERRAL OF THE MINES AND MINERALS AMENDMENT BILL TO PARLIAMENT BY PRESIDENT ED MNANGAGWA

 

Press Release

21 September 2018

THE REFERRAL OF THE MINES AND MINERALS AMENDMENT BILL TO PARLIAMENT BY PRESIDENT ED MNANGAGWA

 

This week, the media reported that the President declined to assent to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill. Facts established so far are that on the 30th August 2018, President ED Mnangagwa declined to assent to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill (MMAB). The Bill was sent back to Parliament for consideration of raised reservations.

Parliament may be facing a real paradox. On the one hand, the Bill must cater for vested business interests under the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ approach which is a pro-business policy. On the other hand, the Bill must, in line with the Constitution, ensure that the environmental, economic and socio-cultural rights of communities are protected and respected.

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has been at the forefront of advocating for the repeal of the current Act and enactment of a fresh new Mines and Minerals Act. ZELA has insisted that such a fundamental law must in general be clear, coherent and accessible and the proposed layered piecemeal amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act make it too complex for it to be implemented effectively.   

ZELA is taking this opportunity to call for a new Mines and Minerals Act which would sufficiently cater for compensation, environmental considerations, human rights and transparency in the mining sector.  Since 2017, when the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill was drafted, ZELA and its allies made up of civil society organisations, community-based organisations, mining communities, progressive politicians and public officials, including individuals within the previous Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy have recommended the following;

  • There should be a new and comprehensive Mines and Minerals Act, not the layered and heavily piecemeal amendments which are being proposed
  • Parliamentary oversight must be strengthened in the granting of mining awards and licenses and ministerial discretion must be limited
  • The Act must show how the Environmental Rehabilitation Fund proposed will be administered to effectively address environmental damage from mining and how this fund relates to the fund in the Environmental Management Act
  • The government must localise and prioritise the implementation of African progressive policies such as the African Union Convention on Natural Resources Governance, The African Mining Vision & the Yaoundé Declaration on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (2008)
  • Provisions on compensation should be clearly outlined for those that are affected by involuntary displacement and resettlement associated with mining activities
  • The new Act should facilitate greater transparency in contract negotiation and access to information on mining company contributions to the national treasury
  • There is need to operationalise the expanded locus standi provided in the Constitution in the MMA. Expanded locus standi will enable those stakeholders whose rights have been negatively impacted either by the policy and decision-making processes or mining activities to vindicate their rights in the courts.
  • Furthermore, the State must place more effort towards building the capacity of the state bureaucracy to negotiate better and monitor mining companies.
  • Gender balance and gender equality must be integral from composition of Mining Affairs Board, up to putting in place measures within the Ministry of Mines to cater for needs of women in mining
  • ZELA reiterates that the parliament must insist that the new Mines and Minerals Act cannot be passed without implementation of section 315 (2) of the Constitution which states ‘Án Act of Parliament must provide for the negotiation and perfomance of following state contracts-joint venture contracts…….’’as the spirit envisaged by the Constitution is that these two Acts be read in conjuction with each other ‘to ensure transparency, honesty, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness

 

Issued by:

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

Email: info@zela.org        Website: www.zela.org  Twitter: @Zela_Lawyers @ZELA_Infor

 

 

 

 

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