MUTARE-Villagers in Marange claim that recent revelations of financial mismanagement by the Zimbabwe Consolidation Diamond Company (ZCDC) vindicates their calls that government should stop its operations.
Bocha Diamond Community Development Trust (BDCDT) chairperson Moses Mukwada said the diamond mining company should halt operations as it has failed to empower the local community or account for its revenue.
These remarks follows the Auditor-General, Mildred Chiri findings in her 2019 report on State enterprises which show that ZCDC failed to account for the use of money exceeding US$400 million while also failing to properly account for 352 583:11 carats of diamonds.
However to the community it is much more than financial mismanagement but also lack of local development and employment opportunities for the hard pressed villagers who rely on subsistence farming.
Mukwada said villagers and community members have plenty of evidence to show that the company was set up by the government as a way to loot the diamonds in Chiadzwa.
“The company should halt operations, it’s better to have companies outside from outside the country, how can we have a government owned company which is failing to empower the locals.
“They have even destroyed the infrastructure left by the previous companies especially the roads because of their cars and machines, this company is just worse off than the previous companies.
“ZCDC is worse off than the previous diamond mining companies which operated in the area claiming that the company have even destroyed the infrastructure left by the companies,” said Mukwada.
He said the previous companies would give monthly reports on revenue collections although the money would later disappear.
Zimbabwe Consolidation Diamond Company (ZCDC) took up mining sites for Anjin Investments, Jinan, Mbada Diamonds, Canadile, Kusena and Marange Resources.
Mukwada said these former miners would even give monthly production reports to government.
Diamond revenue has for long been a contentious issue, veiled in secrecy, the late former President Robert Mugabe even made sensational claims that of US$15 billion generated, government received next to nothing.
“Although we could fail to know where the money actually went but at least there was an effort even in terms of the little infrastructure these companies built our government company is destroying it.
“I think in Marange it’s now a culture of looting, looting is being done on a daily basis, diamonds are uncounted for, ZCDC is worse off than the previous companies, we have never seen anything that has materialized, they are just making promises, they make promises when we demonstrated against the company recently.
“They promised that they are going to build schools and pay schools for our children and these were lies and in-terms of social responsibility they have failed to do anything,” said Mukwada.
Six mining companies previously mined diamonds in Marange before government withdrew their licenses resulting in the formation of ZCDC which is 100 percent state owned.
One of the companies, Anjin Investments has since bounced back in Marange.