PWDs demands inclusion in the Mines bill

People With Disabilities (PWDs) are affected by non-recognition in the…

People With Disabilities (PWDs) are affected by non-recognition in the Mines and Minerals Act with the fight for their inclusion in the amendment of the act being in vain, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Mashonaland West PWDs representative Mr Moses Marufu told Mining Zimbabwe.

Rudairo Mapuranga

According to Marufu as the government accelerates the finalisation of the amendment to the Mines and Minerals Act, the inclusion of PWDs should be treated as a matter of urgency.

He said just like Artisanal and Small-scale miners, PWDs should also be given the same preference as they have been contributing significantly towards economic growth.

Marufu said people with disabilities find it difficult to secure mining claims due to high costs therefore it was of importance for the government to consider them and give them a waiver to peg claims for a lesser fee and also ensure that their papers are processed on time.

“Our sector has been deeply affected by non recognition in the mines and minerals bill/act. There is deliberate exclusion of pwds in mining.

“We as pwds have on several fora demanded this inclusivity in vain.

“Also, other disabled Miners find it very difficult to go into mining because of costs like prospecting Licence, pegging and waiting for over a year to have registration certificates issued,” Marufu said.

The government of Zimbabwe as a matter of urgency intends to finalise the amendment to the Mines and Minerals Act to ensure the law is aligned with the country’s constitution and addresses current challenges experienced in the sector.

“Government intends to finalise amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act as matter of urgency. As highlighted by His Excellency, the President during SONA, finalization the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill will be highly prioritized,” Minister Zhemu Soda said.

The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, whose crafting is still in progress, was supposed to be passed into law before the end of the 9th Parliament, however, the parliamentary legal committee says the Minerals Amendment Bill was going to violate the country’s Constitution in many aspects.

In 2018 the Bill made its way to the President who recommended that some issues be amended resulting in fresh consultations and further cleaning by Parliament and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

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In February this year, the Bill was subjected to public scrutiny and paved the way for stakeholder consultations by the Edmond Mkaratigwa led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines countrywide.

The proposed amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act have roundly been criticised for failing to incorporate community representation, which has led to unsustainable mining practices.

The Bill seeks to repeal the existing mining law to adapt to over a decade of new national and international changes in mining as well as challenges affecting the sector and its linkages throughout the value chain.

The Bill is pushing for recognition of artisanal and small-scale miners, whose operations were previously criminalised, transparency in the licensing regime of mining titles, devolution of the mining sector administration royalty, equality and equity of mining fees across provinces, and local authorities as well as issues to do with environmental, health and safety.

Given the extractive nature of the mining industry, the new law also advocates for local communities to benefit from the proceeds of these finite resources. It also seek to address issues to do with corporate social responsibility, environmental protection, mine closure plans, issues to do with exclusive prospecting orders among other issues.

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