Press release 26 September 2018

Arda Transau relocation, a tale of the resource curse

 

Drug abuse, commercial
sex work, domestic violence and family disintegration are some of the social
ills that remain embedded in most rural communities. Villagers residing in Arda
Transau, a state owned farm turned residential area for people displaced by
mining activities in Chiadzwa’s diamond fields have argued that these
challenges are faced predominantly by women.

“These
challenges date back to 2009 when villagers from Marange were displaced to pave
way for large scale diamond mining. People’s rights were violated, they were
relocated without adequate compensation and compensation procedures were not
properly followed.” According to Chairman of
Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers Union, Cosmas Sunguro

Sunguro
further highlighted that the villagers, particularly women, in the resettled
community felt disoriented, and traumatised by verbal, psychological and other
types of abuse by the military who were actively involved in the forced
displacement.

Some women
residing in the area have raised concern over domestic violence and sexual
harassment in their families attributing this to insufficient or lack of food
to feed the family among other basic necessities. Most of the families
relocated to Arda Transau from Chiadzwa diamond fields do not have income
generating projects that can assist them to fend for their families. The rate
of unemployment is estimated at around 95%, the community of Arda Transau has
not been spared.

Speaking in
her local language, Marry Kusena who resides in Arda Transau said, ”lack of
livelihood projects to sustain their families has brought untold suffering in
the community adding that the government and former mining companies who
relocated them did not provide alternative livelihoods options for sustaining
them.”

According to a
survey conducted in Arda Transau by the Zimbabwe
Diamonds and Allied Workers Union
(ZIDAWU) in
June this year, some of the women interviewed revealed that they are engaging
in commercial sex work to earn a living. If given other alternative ways of
survival, they confided that they would quit the trade. Women hardly have
access to employment opportunities in the mining companies to be able to
sustain their families.

In addition, most
parents cannot afford to pay school fees and the burden often falls on the
mothers who have to take manual jobs to secure school fees. The management at a
local school in Arda Transau has also come under the spotlight for sending
pupils back home for failure to settle tuition fees. This is in direct
contravention of Section 75(1) of the Zimbabwe Constitution which notes that;
every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic State
funded education.

ZIDAWU argues
that there is a need for continuous engagement with communities that depend on
and are affected by extractivism while development partners and the government
must ensure that mining companies honour their obligations.

FOR MORE
INFORMATION AND INTERVIEWS CONTACT:

Nhlanhla
Kubeka

frayintermedia:
Account manager

Tel: +27 11
888 0140

Cell: +27 79
847 897

Email: nkubeka@frayintermedia.com

OR

Cosmas Sunguro

Zimbabwe
Diamonds and Allied Workers Union: Chairman

Cell:
+263 772 763 209

Email: zzidawu@gmail.com

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