Conrad Mupesa Herald Correspondent

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, has warned Chinese owned mines and firms operating in Chegutu rural to desist from violating the country’s environmental laws.

Minister Ndlovu issued the warning after witnessing environmental degradation caused by four Chinese companies that are involved chrome mining, quarry extracting, tile making and brick moulding during a tour of their operation in Chegutu district yesterday.

He was accompanied by Mashonaland West State Minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, Norton and Mhondoro-Ngezi legislatures, Temba Mliswa and Tawengwa Mukhuhlani respectively, and some officials from Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

Minister Ndlovu said the Government was not going to fold hands and watch companies violating the environment.

He said the companies were supposed to conform with laws particularly Section 73 of the constitution, which provides for the Government to safeguard the environment.

“My visit to these sites has been necessitated by the need to see the impacts the companies have done after having been invited by the Member of Parliament,” he said.

“I visited an area where Afro-Shin is mining sand and the company has very low compliance. As Government we are fully behind the investments but we are also cognisant of the constitutional expectation of providing a cleaner and safer environment and empower EMA to discharge its duties. Our President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) is clear on the need for law abiding citizens and corporates.”

He said companies that violate environmental laws were supposed to be fined and made to address their issues.

Speaking during the tour of sites, Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said although the province was happy with the investments as they were bringing employment to members of the community and improving the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the province and the nation it was not going to be at the expense of the environment and the nation.

She challenged the companies to toe the line and adhere to the country’s laws and statutes. Sunn Yi Feng, which produces ceramic tiles and kitchenware, is said to be polluting air through burning of waste on site and extracting sand from illegal sites.

The company has also been failing to manage the disposal of its effluent and solid waste forcing representatives of Norton Ward 2 residents to petition to Minister Ndlovu during his visit to the company.

Acting chief executive for Chegutu Rural District Council, Mr Godfrey Machingura said they had issued the company several warnings without any success.

The company’s representative, Willian Gong denied violating the environment saying they were employing best skills and practices that they use in China.

EMA’s provincial head, Rwambayi Mapako advised Afro-Shin mining manager, Laston Mlauzi to ensure that his company erects a perimeter fence around its open cast mining activities.