The Bocha Diamond Community Trust (BDCT) has expressed concern over the exposure of the Marange Community to the Covid-19 pandemic owing to alleged weak responses by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
In a statement, the Trust alleges ZCDC is threatening to unleash the deadly pandemic into the Marange community through its poor handling of Covid-19 cases and lack of contact tracing
“ZCDC is promoting unrestricted movement of massive numbers of people from other provinces to the Marange community. This is due the fact that more than 80% of ZCDC workers at the diamond mine come from outside Manicaland. These workers are highly mobile as they frequent their homes during weekends, majority of the musing public transport. These mobile workers mix with our community thereby unfairly exposing our community to the coronavirus,” read the statement
The Trust called on the Diamond mining company to alert the community on any outbreak than to have the community find out for themselves.
“ZCDC needs to be proactive in alerting the community on any outbreaks of Covid-19 among the mine workers. If this information comes to the awareness of the community through other means which are unofficial then the community verifies the claims to be true, it will appear as if ZCDC is hiding away from community awareness the existence of an outbreak of Covid19 among its mine workers.
“Such verification of unofficial reports happened on the 11th of August 2020 when a joint operation Task force of community monitors from Bocha Diamond Community Trust (Moses Mukwada and Takura Betera); and Marange Development Trust (Malvern Mudiwa) visited the ZCDC premises at Zengeni. Four workers who tested positive to Covid-19 were said to be quarantined at facilities at Zengeni Business Centre that are highly unsuitable for human habitation.”
BDCT adds “The community monitors heard that at least nine workers were reported to have tested positive to Covid19. Whilst we located 4 of them, we failed to establish the whereabouts of the other five. ZCDC reluctantly confirmed the cases after persistent calls from the community monitors.”
ZCDC corporate communications affairs manager Sugar Chagonda dismissed the allegations saying the company is complying with Covid-19 regulations.
“In terms of mining regulations and our policies we have got restrictions and we are working with the Ministry of Health. On the ground movement, within and to the mine is regulated there are procedures to that effect even entry into the mines by our employees is restricted.
“We are following guidelines and protocols set by the WHO and we are working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care so I do not understand what that (BDCT claims) is supposed to mean in terms of our operations they are highly regulated.” said Chagonda
The allegations come at a time the country is grappling with a spike in Coronavirus cases.