By Evidence Chipadza
An influx of Chinese companies in Shurugwi has emerged as one of the biggest threats to the mining town’s infrastructure, livelihood of locals (mostly through ill treatment at work places by the Chinese employers). This was revealed in a Provincial Mining Indaba (PAMI) organized by various stakeholders which include Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and Gweru City Council (GCC).
The purpose of the PAMI was to strengthen engagement between the duty bearers and the mining communities. Shurugwi residents noted that Chinese people are not giving back to the community as they continue with their operations. “These Chinese people have destroyed Shurugwi particularly the Boterekwa area is now a death trap, there is no development at all,” one anonymous community member said.
Shurugwi town was mostly run by ZIMASCO Mine which developed most of the infrastructure in Shurugwi but now people are suffering at the hands of Chinese companies. Apart from damaging the infrastructure by the, workers experience poor, harsh conditions earning unfair wages. Labor laws are not protecting the Zimbabwean workers at all as ‘invetsors’ continue to get concessions at the detriment of citizen’s livelihoods.
Part of PAMI 2023 declarations highlighted that the Mines and Minerals Act should be amended to protect locals. Further, corporate social responsibility which states that before mining, an investor must state 5 community benefits and also call for increased women inclusion.
image courtesy of UNCTAD