…As Police, Army say it’s time to withdraw from the mine
KWEKWE-The Minister of State for Midlands Province, Senator Larry Mavhima for the second time this year, led a high powered delegation on a fact finding mission at Gaika Mine in Kwekwe on Wednesday.
The delegation included the provincial JOC led by the Chairman and Commander 5 infantry brigade, Brigadier General Simo Maseko, District JOC, officials from the ministry of mines and mining development.
Gaika is jointly owned by China Africa Investments and Development Company (Ltd) (CAIDC) and Duration Gold Limited (DGL).
Minister Mavhima accused the company of being dishonest amid claims that the mine was not ready to resume operations anytime soon.
“As per their promise, we now want the mine to kick start operations. However, we are very disappointed at the slow pace at which preparations for the resumption of production are going on”, charged Minister Mavhima adding that should the mine refuse to owner their commitment, his office together with JOC will recommend for the total takeover of the mine by the government.
“Let’s be honest with each other here, we restored the rule of law, we restored property rights here but we don’t want people to take advantage of us, we don’t want people to take advantage of government and say now that we are here you can have your sweet time to get board approval for the resumption of operations. We want progress here”, added Mavhima.
“We own Zimbabwe and if people are not doing what we expect them to do then maybe we might be forced to invoke the win it or lose it concept, because if they are not convinced that this is the place to invest in Zimbabwe, if they are doubting the asset, if they are doubting the economy tell your board to sell the asset and as government we can acquire Gaika tomorrow, that’s the message you need to send to the shareholders.
If they can’t make a decision on the reopening of the mine, we can buy Gaika as government”, fumed Minister Mavhima
JOC Chairman Brig Maseko weighed in saying the security forces deployed at the mine, were now due for withdrawal.
“We discussed and agreed last time that Gaika Mine is expected to put in a tight security. This is because the services being offered by the deployed security personal, could not be confined to the mine only. And as I speak right now, it’s due time to withdraw from this mine, but we can only withdraw once we are certain that the security of this mine is tight. We don’t want a situation where we pull out today and a month later we are called back. That will give us a bad name”, said Brig Maseko challenging the mine management to come in the open with regard to the resumption of the operations.
However, as tempers flared, Duration Gold representative Allan Mashingaidze was disagreeing with Minister saying he kept them on the loop whenever there was development and that Gaika Mine was a private property and he was answerable to the board.
“We do communicate on every development taking place here in writing to Brig Maseko’s office and we always copy to Hon Minister’s office so that they will be aware of any developments. We do not know were this issue of none compliance is coming from, they are aware.” said Mashingaidze
Added Mashingaidze: “Yes you may say they got the wrong people in place, it is simple to say that but they own this company. They own this asset and l am answerable to them”.
Police and military details in May pounced on Gaika Mine In a dramatic turn of events, where artisanal miners were barred from executing operations at the mine, barely a few days after Chief Justice Luke Malaba had ordered the arrest of former Zanu PF Mbizo legislator Vongaishe Mupereri who is widely considered the chief kingpin in the invasion of the mine by party youths last year, a charge he denied.
Mupereri, was accused of having wantonly ignored a court order passed by High Court Judge Justice Moyo on March 29 2018 which compelled the ex-Mbizo parliamentarian to pay for the losses incurred by the official owners of Gaika.
However, reports are that Kwekwe youths under the banner of a community share ownership, forcibly tookover the mine after it had been rendered defunct more than two decades ago, in 1998.