Government has digitalized the allocation of mining claims in Manicaland after adopting the cadastre system, touted as a solution to double allocation and corruption in allocation of claims, officials have said.
Mines and Mineral Development provincial officers told delegates at an Anti-Corruption Indaba organized by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), which focused on social accountability and how the province is dealing with corruption.
The TIZ indaba also included duty bearers from the City of Mutare, Mutare Rural District Council and The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) who addressed public perceptions of rampant corrupt activities in these public organisations and strategies they have adopted to rid graft.
TIZ legal officer Tracy Mutowekuziva said this platform was created to enable interface of public officials with stakeholders over increasing allegations within the mining sector which are prevalent in the province.
Mutowekuziva said this was imperative to bridge the gap between duty bearers and stakeholders to enhance citizen participation in governance related matters.
“This Anti-corruption indaba is focusing on social accountability from our duty bearers and how the province is dealing with this scourge of corruption.
“We were running under the theme ‘Ask your government. Social accountability against corruption’, as we believe that such interface platforms are necessary to fight against the growing vice of corruption,” said Mutowekuziva.
Ministry of Mines provincial officer Innocent Murapa, said the province has scored a first by pioneering the digital system of registering mine claim allocations to curb cases of double allocations.
Murapa said although the ministry has a zero tolerance to corruption as a policy, corrupt activities have been flagged mainly during the registration process, transfer of titles and allocation of mining claims.
He said institutionalization of the cadastre system, a missing component of the registration process, is a first for the nation as the province is pioneering it to curb cases of officials tampering with the registration process.
Murapa said the Ministry has been seized with addressing grey areas as it pushes towards the realization of the US$12 billion mining economy, in a shift from qualitative to a quantitative approach by the ministry.
“As Ministry we have Zero tolerance to corruption as a policy, because this corruption is both a civil and criminal wrong for officers to fleece the hard earned money from investors.
“We have tried as a Ministry to attend to the grey areas through simplification of the registration process, it’s a very simplified where one needs only an ID card. Prospecting license only takes one 30 minutes to apply, even the form is a one page document.
“In order to combat corruption we have institutionalized the cadastre system which was a lacking ingredient or component of our whole system. Normally our manual system of registering claims had problems of officers tampering with it.
“This system that we have introduced, we are the first province to pioneer this and we now have personnel to this effect, we thank the civil society for highlighting and pushing for this.
“We have taken it on board as a Ministry, so that we can make sure that we protect the mining titles of each and every person who acquires a mining title,” said Murapa.
On the hanging legislation the Mines and Mineral Development Bill, Murapa said policy consultations were still ongoing on the ground, with the sticking point being on land use or the farmer miner conflict.
He said while sustainability was compromised by the lack of a substantive legislation, the US$12 billion was achievable once the policy processes were addressed in the near future.
“We have never set a target that we have missed as a Ministry. Yes sustainability cannot be achieved without the Mines and Minerals Act, true that has been a thorn in the flesh and we are actually battling with it.
“It’s merely the policy makers who have the mandate to do that, as a Ministry we only implement, so we have not much control over what people want, the policy makers are on the ground consulting.
“The main sticking point is the question that has been asked on issues of mines and farming land,” said Murapa.
He added, “As far as we are concerned we are going in the right direction and we have sustainability plans, let’s trust our systems to do the right things.”