HARARE, May 15 (The Source) – Former indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere on Thursday failed to appear before a Parliamentary portfolio committee to explain the controversy surrounding the $10 million pledges allegedly made by diamond mining firms in Marange.
Kasukuwere is alleged to have lied that foreign mining firms had each pledged $10 million to community share ownership trusts to empower the communities in which they operate, but no agreement was signed to that effect.
The issue came to light this year when the committee invited various mining firms to explain why they had not honoured their pledges.
Some firms such as Mbada and Anjin professed ignorance about the existence of such agreements while others said they had only pledged $1,5 million payable over five years.
“The said minister (Kasukuwere), whom we invited, could not come so we apologize for that,” the Committee chairperson, Mayor Wadyajena told journalists, referring further questions to the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda.
Kasukuwere, now the environment and water minister, told The Source that he had not been invited to appear before the committee.
“That’s not true, I didn’t get communication, they didn’t call me. I am not going to be part of that game,” he said before referring more questions to Wadyajena and Mudenda.
Recently, the incumbent indigenisation minister, Francis Nhema told the committee that no binding agreements had been entered into with the mines except a “gentlemen’s agreement.”
“The spirit of the agreement, the spirit of the discussion was that they would pay $10 million. We don’t have pledges written but we have minutes. I believe it’s a gentlemen’s agreement, they were in the meeting, they shook their hands, they should honour their obligation,” said Nhema.
According to a schedule he presented in Parliament last month, 13 mining companies paid a total of $31 million.
Of the companies only platinum miners, Unki and Zimplats paid the full amount of $10 million.
Blanket Mine in Gwanda paid $5 million; Mimosa $4 million; Freda $1 million; Rio Tinto owned Murowa Diamonds, $300,000; Mbada, $200,000 and Marange Resources $200, 000.