BY Nkululeko Sibanda

Government officials and politicians have allegedly grabbed gold milling centres set up by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and have turned them into private operations, it has emerged.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president, Henrietta Rushwaya told delegates at the third Women in Mining (WIM) 2019 conference held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) grounds in Bulawayo on Wednesday that officials had hijacked the facilities.

“Women are known to behave better compared to their male counterparts,” Rushwaya said.

“But we have some amongst our women folk, especially those in positions of authority in government, who have let their fellow women folk down. We have some who
have grabbed milling centres that the RBZ set up to improve gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refineries and turned them into personal property. That is
not the way we, as women, should behave, especially when we are complaining about the manner our male folk have been treating us.”

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“We also have some who are also letting us down by failing to pay back loans that were given to them by banks, especially the People’s Own Savings Bank.

“I am saying this practice should come to an end because such behaviour puts other women in bad spaces. How are other women going to access these loans if we
fail to pay back what we have borrowed?” she asked.

Rushwaya challenged government to act on complaints from women miners in Shurugwi where Zanu PF youths are allegedly grabbing mines from women.

“Honourable minister, I appeal to your office to get our word out there to the leadership that we are worried about the surfacing of people all over the shore
holding mining offer letters of mines that are in the (hands) of women.”

“What is worrisome is that some of these places had been shunned and were only revived by women and these women have made these places viable to such an extent
that they are now able to feed their families from the resources they derive from their activities,” Rushwaya said.

Permanent secretary in the ministry of mines and mining development Onesimo Moyo, who was present at the meeting pledged to resolve the disputes.

“I would like to advise the questioner that we shall be in the Shurugwi area on the 24th of this month so that we can deal with issues that have been raised.
We are aware of the issues and challenges thereof.”

“Myself, the minister and deputy minister of Mines, will host a meeting with all those affected where we shall seek to put an end to any challenges as alluded to by the questioner. We hope that we will have a fruitful meeting,” Moyo said.