ZANU PF Councillor Takes Legal Action Against Granite Mining Company

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HARARE – Blessing Munemo, a councillor representing ZANU PF in Seke Rural, has filed a lawsuit against a granite mining company, seeking to halt their unauthorized exploration activities on land belonging to local villagers.

Munemo, who is Councillor for Ward 1 in Mayambara in Seke, is being assisted by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). 

ZLHR said, Councillor Munemo wants Matscandnavia, which trades as Seven Stars Mine, to be ordered not to prospect, conduct exploration or any form of mining activity in four villages namely Savanhu, Mhonda, Mhundwa and Charigwati located in Mayambira in Seke in Mashonaland East province, without following due process and the law.

Councillor Munemo, who resides in Savanhu village and has strong ancestral ties to the area, enlisted the assistance of Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Kelvin Kabaya from ZLHR. On April 10, they submitted an application to the Marondera Magistrates Court, requesting an order that would compel Matscandnavia to remove pegs installed on villagers’ land within 24 hours of the order’s issuance.

Should the mining company fail to comply with the order to remove the pegs, Councillor Munemo seeks authorization from the court for the Messenger of Court to remove them on behalf of the affected villagers.

During the court proceedings, Councillor Munemo stated that employees or representatives of Matscandnavia had arrived in Savanhu, Mhonda, Mhundwa, and Charigwati villages in 2023, where they marked the area for quarry mining purposes. The majority of the pegs were placed in Savanhu village, which possesses extensive granite deposits.

Councillor Munemo alleges that he was not consulted regarding the proposed quarry mining activities and did not provide consent. He resorted to legal action after the mining company ignored a letter sent on his behalf by Chinopfukutwa and Kabaya on March 11, 2024, requesting that the company cease its quarry mining activities and remove the pegs due to non-compliance with legal requirements, such as obtaining an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate.

In his application, Councillor Munemo argues that, according to Section 97 of the Environmental Management Act, mineral prospecting, including pegging, cannot be conducted without a certificate approving such activities issued by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

Furthermore, he maintains that the mining company pegged the villagers’ land without obtaining written consent and approval from the Manyame Rural District Council, the governing authority overseeing the four affected villages.

Citing Section 73 of the Constitution, Councillor Munemo asserts his right to a safe and healthy environment that does not endanger his well-being. He emphasizes the importance of protecting the environment for the benefit of present and future generations through measures ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources.

Councillor Munemo expresses concern that the operations of Matscandnavia would lead to the loss of grazing pastures, farmland, and culturally significant traditional shrines for the villagers. He argues that allowing the company to conduct granite mining without an approved environmental impact assessment from EMA would expose residents of the four villages to unmitigated and unassessed environmental hazards.

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