South African owned platinum miner, Zimplats has been accused of ignoring a decade long economic mandate towards communities surrounding it’s operations in Ngezi.
Following the launch of Mhondoro-Ngezi community share ownership trust, there was high expectation that the 10 percent shareholding in Zimplats would transform surrounding areas but 10 years on, hopes are turning into despair.
In a statement released to the media, Chegutu Rural Development Committee Chairperson, Tatenda Gwinji urged Zimplats to borrow a leaf from Caledonia Mining Corporation which owns Blanket in Gwanda.
“Zimbabwe’s endeavor for an upper middle class economy, to empower and develop its communities on the back of the country’s immense mineral resource wealth has revealed the glaring and contrasting story of two communities.
“On one side is the Gwanda community of Matebeleland South that is beginning to experience the benefits of natural resource based economic empowerment, while on the other are the communities of Chegutu, Mhondoro-Ngezi and Zvimba that continue to be eluded by the economic promise from locally extracted platinum wealth,” he said.
“In Gwanda all that glitters has turned out to be the very gold mined within that community by Canadian owned Blanket Mine. The Gwanda community now fully owns its 10% shares in Blanket Mine, after ten years of settling advance dividend loaned by the foreign investor.
“Contrast this with platinum endowed communities, whose group of metals that include gold, have not provided glitter to platinum endowed communities that have for ten years been eluded by the unwillingness of South African owned Zimplats to dispose of 10% shares as guaranteed by agreements made in the name of the communities,” added Gwinji.
In May 2012, Caledonia agreed to dispose of 10 percent shares in Blanket Mine to the Gwanda community through its government backed community share ownership trust.
In July 2022 Gwanda community received its first full quarterly dividend payment of US$360,000. This cannot be said Mhondoro Ngezi communities who are yet to benefit from their stake in the platinum producing company.