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Villagers Relocated From Diamond-rich Chiadzwa Disconnected From Water

Villagers Relocated From Diamond-rich Chiadzwa Disconnected From Water

At least 6000 Chiadzwa families who were relocated by Anjin Investments to pave way for diamond mining have been without access to clean water for the past four months, reports.

They were relocated from Chiadzwa to Arda Transau, a government farm located in Odzi, Manicaland province, about 24 kilometres west of Mutare. 

What transpired:

  • Water cuts started in October  2021 when the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Distribution Company (ZETDC) switched off the water pumping station due to ballooning debt.
  • This is despite companies realising huge sums of revenue from extracting the diamonds from Chiadzwa.

What villagers say:

  • Families in Arda Transau are now resorting to unsafe sources of water.
  • Odzi ward 3 councilor, Moses Mujaji, said that villagers were failing to pay ZETDC and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) a debt pegged at ZW$353 000.
  • Mujaji says villagers are poor hence cannot raise such an amount of money, most have no source of income and their soils are not fertile for crop production.
  • Mujaji added that villagers are now living at risk of communicable diseases as they are fetching water from unprotected sources.
  • The entire community is now relying on three boreholes which are not enough.

Possible interventions:

  • They are appealing to ZESA and ZINWA to charge them domestic rates since they are charging them services as a commercial operator.
  • Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust chairman, Cephas Mujuru appealed to the government and its development partners to rescue villagers by drilling sufficient boreholes.
  • Arda Transau Development Committee chairperson, John Makuyana said the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) promised to clear the debt after a meeting was recently convened with Provincial Minister Nokuthula Matsikenyere regarding the water crisis in the peri-urban setting.

In 2017, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment recommended an amendment of the country’s Indigenisation Act to compel mining companies to contribute at least 25 per cent to community share trusts.

The committee also proposed the inclusion of statutory provisions for the application of punitive measures against mining firms that fail to comply with the legislation.

In 2019, President Emmerson Mnangagwa emphasised the need for the decentralisation of government through devolution saying that every citizen must benefit from resources and programmes in their communities.

Nevertheless, studies show that despite abundant mineral resources around the country, the indigenous communities living close to the mines, such as those in Manicaland, Matebeleland and Midlands have been deprived of the right to directly or indirectly benefit from the mineral resources which are used to develop other areas, particularly Harare and Mashonaland.

More: Pindula News

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