The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is running a PAVE (Petition, Amplify Voices and Engage) campaign on Responsible Investments. The aim of the campaign is to ensure that local communities from resource-rich areas meaningfully benefit from the extraction of the natural resources. The manifesto of the current government is prioritizing economic development through foreign direct investment(FDI). Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Laws have been softened to improve Zimbabwe’s appeal to foreign investors. Whilst Zimbabwe is in need of FDI, there is a high likelihood that some of the investors may come from countries with poor human rights records. By emphasising on the issue of “Zimbabwe is open for business”, it is likely that the government may overlook issues of community beneficiation and violation of human rights in host communities. Against this background, ZELA’s campaign on Responsible Investments seeks to petition duty bearers, amplify community voices and engage duty bearers on responsible investment and human rights.
About the Campaign
The Responsible Investments campaign was launched in May 2018 during the Great Dyke Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba 2018. The campaign covers Zvishavane and Mutoko Districts. These areas are renown for extensive Chrome and Granite mining . ZELA’s PAVE campaign strategy gives power to the communities themselves to organise themselves and demand accountability from duty bearers .
Community members demands
The Zimbabwean government has entered into investment agreements with investors. One of the most talked about investment is the 4.2 Billion Platinum deal with Karo Resources. In light of the signing of investment agreements, host mining communities are calling for the following demands:
Mining Companies and Investors
- Invest in getting a social licence to operate. All mining companies must meaningfully engage communities from exploration to end of the mining project, respect human rights and cultural values of the communities and local employees, including exercising gender inclusion in all processes
The Environmental Management Agency
- Safeguard the environment and ensure funds for environmental rehabilitation are set aside and used for this purpose before, during and after mining operations.
- Provide easy access to environmental information to mining-affected communities so that they can easily monitor compliance with Environmental Management Plans.
Rural District Councils
- Enhance social service delivery from mining taxes and royalties and publish what you receive from mining companies
- Disclose Mining contracts with the relevant stakeholders and meaningfully engage rural district councils and mining-affected communities along the mining cycle. Put in place laws and policies that promote local employment and local enterprise development and/or enforce these laws and policies where they exist.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
- Investigate and act accordingly on time on human rights violations reports received from mining-affected communities effectively harnessing all powers and authority within the confines of the Constitution and ZHRC Act.
- Enable ease of access to ZHRC reporting mechanisms throughout the country.
- Influence quick adoption of frameworks like the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to contribute to improved economic, environmental and social justice
Since the campaign launch, the Government halted the mining of chrome on the road sides in Zvishavane. This was observed on the road linking Shurugwi and Zvishavane where chrome extraction was happening less than 10m away on either side of the tarred road.
To get involved
You can watch a documentary about community rights and mining here. To get involved in the campaign, follow the hashtag #ResponsibleInv on Facebook and Twitter. We conducted radio interviews on Star FM. To listen to this recordings, follow the links below. Please kindly visit our website and sign an online petition
Source: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)