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Hwange villagers’ wildlife terror – The Zimbabwe Independent

DRIVING to Shashachunda Village in Ward 9 of the Hwange District, located in the Matabeleland North, the beautiful scenery of the mountainside is now being replaced by a stench of chemicals.

On the left of the long dusty road to the village, are coal mining and processing activities done by Chinese coal miner, Sunrise Chilota Cooperation (Pvt).

The gradual reduction of the mountainside is clear testament of mining activities ravaging the Hwange escarpment.

The location of these mining activities, however, is in the proximity of wild animal habitats. Deka river, which is one of the water sources in the area, has been polluted, making it unsafe for elephants, crocodiles, and even hyenas.

 Wild animals are encroaching into the human territory in search of drinking sources.

The movement of animals has been exacerbated by their fear of the on-going mining activities, which entail explosions among other things.

“There is a big number of elephants coming to this site. We had to talk to the chief who called game rangers. This was about two months ago,”said Francis Mbulo (61), a resident of Shashachunda Village, who spoke to the Independentduring a recent visit to Hwange.

“Instead of using their usual route, the animals are coming to this side due to these mining activities…We have not seen an improvement.”

The elephants are destroying their livelihood as most people in the area depend on communal and livestock farming for subsistence living.

“It has gotten to a point where even hyenas now are eating my goats,” he said.

Goats typically cost between US$25 to US$30.

Another villager Peter Tube (44) shared similar stories about how his crops were facing threats from marauding elephants.

“During this planting season, it is a disaster.  Elephants destroy crops and people are generally scared of wild animals,” he said.

“I don’t have a pension. It is hard. When this Deka river was okay, my kids and wife used to go to get a bit of fish and sell. But now, because of pollution, there is nothing.

“There were plenty of crocodiles and fish but now they (Chinese miners) have destroyed them. They (crocodiles) have either died or moved to greener pastures,” Dube said.

For Dube, increased Chinese investment activities from coal and coke mining meant polluting the Deka river, which provided a source of subsistence for locals as well as wildlife. The paper spoke to other villagers from Shashachunda Village, who narrated similar stories of more elephants destroying crops while hyenas are attacking livestock.

Apart from Sunrise Chilota, another firm, South Mining Zimbabwe’s activities have also contributed to the Deka river’s pollution and air pollution.

A May research journal done on Zimbabwe mining, submitted to the World Development Journal by Swiss researchers Désirée Ruppen and Fritz Brugger, from ETH Zurich, a Switzerland-based public university, noted some of these challenges faced by villagers. World Development Journal is a monthly peer-reviewed academic journal covering development studies established in 1973 and published by Elsevier, a Netherlands-based academic publishing company specialising in scientific, technical, and medical content.

“Today, Hwange town is still under the administration of the mining company. Most residents live in compounds initially built for the mine workers, close to former underground mines and surrounded by coal waste dumps, processing facilities and the thermal power plant,” it said.

Sadly, both Mbulo and Dube’s experiences are a trend of increased reports of human/wildlife conflict as a result of increased mining.

“Human-wildlife conflict is mainly concentrated in rural areas, but due to mining activities taking place close to Hwange urban, we are seeing more elephants finding their way into human settlements in urban setups,” Greater Hwange Residents Trust coordinator Fidelis Chima told the Independent.

“They run almost three-quarters of Hwange town, it’s their property. So, all business, almost three quarters are controlled by Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL).”

Ncube said councillors were now pushing for the incorporation of wards under HCCL to be included under Hwange Local Authority to make decisions that help communities.

“If only the government can speed up the incorporation issue so that we have powers over these wards,” Ncube said.

Recently, two villages Makwika and Ingagula experienced a coal fire incident that claimed a minor while several were injured.

The incident emanated from the coal mining activities by HCCL that triggered underground coal fires.

While HCCL has cordoned off dangerous hotspots for coal seam fires, years of coal dumps are now igniting under the intense heat of the region also leading to elephants leaving their habitats for residential areas.

“The No.3 underground mine (one of HCCL’s mines) was closed way back, maybe in 1998. So, there were some contaminated coal rubbles which they were disposing of and those rubbles are now igniting under the intense heat,” Ncube said.

Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) executive director Farai Maguwu said coal mining activities are on a massive expansion in Hwange, causing dumps to ignite.

“We are also noticing that the problem of coal seam fires is on the rise in Hwange and those communities have been suffering in silence. The role of the government has been to manage the information that comes out of Hwange rather than manage the problem,” Maguwu said.

He said between 2016 and 2019 they had been engaging government and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), which promised to enlist a German consultant to look into these concerns.

EMA spokesperson Amkela Sidanke said no one was above the law and there was selective application of it.

“No one is above the law. All investors whether local or foreign, regardless of origin, race or colour, for as long as they undertake prescribed projects including mines, are subjected to an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment process and approval,” Sidanke said.

Throughout the year, several legislators have grilled Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu over how Chinese miners were getting licences in these areas.

Ndhlovu did not answer repeated calls to his mobile his week.

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S Africa’s Ramaphosa faces impeachment threat over farm scandal – Zimbabwe Independent

An independent panel appointed by the speaker of South Africa’s parliament has found preliminary evidence that President Cyril Ramaphosa violated his oath of office, findings that could lead to his eventual impeachment.

Parliament will examine the report, which was submitted on Wednesday, and decide whether to push ahead with impeachment proceedings next week.

This comes just weeks before an elective conference that will decide if Ramaphosa gets to run for a second term on the governing African National Congress’s (ANC) ticket at 2024 polls.

The president immediately denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes.

“I categorically deny that I have violated this oath in any way, and I similarly deny that I am guilty of any of the allegations made against me,” Ramaphosa said in a statement issued by the South African presidency on Wednesday.

On Thursday, he delayed an appearance in parliament to answer questions, requesting time to consider the report, noting that the panel’s recommendations had “implications for the stability of the country,” parliament said in a statement.

In June, it emerged that an estimated $4m in cash was stolen from Ramaphosa’s game farm in 2020, raising questions about how the billionaire president, who took to power on the promise of fighting corruption, acquired the money and whether he declared it.

The three-person panel was set up in September and tasked with ascertaining whether there was sufficient evidence to show that Ramaphosa committed a serious violation of the constitution or the law or grave misconduct, National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said when she was handed the report earlier on Wednesday.

The panel said Ramaphosa should face further scrutiny on his ability to stay in office.

“In all the circumstances, we think that the evidence presented to the Panel, prima facie, establishes that the president may be guilty of a serious violation of certain sections of the constitution,” the report found.

These include not reporting the theft directly to police, acting in a way inconsistent with holding office and exposing himself to a clash between his official responsibilities and his private business.

While Ramaphosa has confirmed that a robbery occurred at his farm, he said the cash was from proceeds from the sales of game. He has denied breaking the law or any regulations relating to his office.

John Steenhuisen, the leader of South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said Ramaphosa was in a tight bind, Reuters news agency reported.

“The report itself leaves the president in a virtually untenable position, particularly as it relates to his own party’s step-aside rules and the strong line that he has taken against others within his party,” he said.

Ramaphosa came to power in 2018 on a promise to root out graft after the corruption-stained era of his former boss, Jacob Zuma, and has generally insisted that any party official accused of corruption leave office pending investigations.

The alleged cover-up has tarnished the president’s reputation and overshadowed his bid for re-election at the helm of the ANC.

Ramaphosa, 70, is the favourite to win at the ruling party’s December 16-20 conference, where he faces a challenge from Zweli Mkhize, 66, an ex-health minister who resigned from the government last year amid corruption allegations.

In November, the spokesperson to the president, Vincent Magwenya, told journalists that Ramaphosa would “gladly step aside” if he were to be criminally charged.

The chances of impeachment are slim given the ANC’s dominance of parliament, where it holds 230 seats, or nearly 60 percent of the total, and typically votes along party lines. Impeaching a president requires a two-thirds majority.

The inquiry is separate from a criminal investigation that police are conducting, and which Ramaphosa has welcomed.

The report will be debated in the national assembly on December 6, said the speaker, Mapisa-Nqakula.

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America, Europe easing their stance on Zimbabwe – Bulawayo24 News

The current economic stability prevailing in the country is indirectly forcing the West to mend its relations with Zimbabwe, economic analysts have said.

Economic analysts, Abednigo Matsika said that the recent developments that include the invitation to the US-Africa summit and proposals towards re-joining the Commonwealth were a manifestation of how President Mnangagwa’s Engagement and Re-engagement policy was bearing fruits.

“We are witnessing a change of stance by the West on Zimbabwe. Of late, the West has been warming up to the Government and has been pouring money to support various developmental projects in the country. Recently, the EU pledged over 100 million Euros to support women empowerment and agriculture programmes in the country. This shows that relations between the West and Zimbabwe are thawing,” said Matsika.

Matsika added that days of Zimbabwe’s isolation by the West were coming to an end. He said the sudden surge of traffic by the EU, US and the United Kingdom (UK) into Zimbabwe was positive and will lead to the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West.

In explaining how Zimbabwe-West relations were warming up, Matsika said that last week, the country and EU signed financial agreements totalling US46 million under the Zimbabwe-EU cooperative programme. Matsika added that the US46 million aid was an affirmation that the engagement and re-engagement drive with the international community was bearing fruits and that the EU was rapidly moving out of the sanctions orbit.

According to Matsika, the recent visit by the Commonwealth delegation led by Assistant Secretary General, Luis Franschesci shows that the bloc was willing to have Zimbabwe as member of that community. He added that the imminent readmission of Zimbabwe to Commonwealth would spur economic growth and open an avalanche of business opportunities for the country.

Meanwhile, a source within CCC said that the thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and the West had triggered uncertainty within that party which traditionally survives on Zimbabwe’s isolation from the rest of the World. The CCC feels that these developments would rob it of an advantage of boasting that they have the keys to the removal of sanctions and to good relations with the West.

The source said that CCC was plotting to stage violent demonstrations to tarnish the image of the Government.

“The CCC leadership has been shocked by the thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and the West. We are now planning to stage violent demonstrations in a bid to compel the state security to arrest participants. The idea is to portray Zimbabwe as a country that represses the opposition voice,” said the source.

The source further claimed that Chamisa recently held a caucus meeting with his few trusted lieutenants and expressed worry over the surveys that continue to signpost a ZANU PF victory in the forthcoming elections.

According to the source, Chamisa informed his friends in the region and beyond that a political strategist had advised him to stage violent protests in the country and blame ZANU PF for the same. The move according to the source is meant to force the West to tighten up screws on sanctions.

“Without sanctions, we are gone. We must create conditions that help our supporters, including those in the UK and US to disrupt the reengagement process. We would disrupt the current economic stability .We need economic pain to win,” said the source.

The source added that Chamisa was assembling a team of ruffians who would stage the demonstrations and subsequently get arrested.

On the other side, a ZANU PF supporter Regai Chandiwana of Seke argued that the improvement of relations between Zimbabwe and the West and the possibility of the removal of sanctions would level the electoral playing field which had, hitherto been skewed in favour of the opposition.

“They had the advantage of holding the electorate hostage by threatening to ensure that sanctions would continue to bite if citizens do not vote for the CCC. If   sanctions are lifted, then for the first time in history elections would be fair,” said Chandiwana.

Meanwhile, efforts to get a comment from CCC interim national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere were futile as her phone was not reachable.

All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24’s community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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National Foods new mill to increase capacity by 2 000 tonnes per month – The Zimbabwe Mail

ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed food processing giant National Foods Holdings Limited’s new mill at their Bulawayo site is set to increase wheat milling capacity by 2 000 tonnes per month.

In an annual report for 2022, the company’s chairman Mr Todd Moyo said the new mill is set to start operating early next year.

“The installation of the new mill at our Bulawayo site has commenced and the mill remains on track for commissioning early in 2023.

The new mill will increase wheat milling capacity by around 2 000 tons per month,” he said.
The establishment of the new flour mill in Bulawayo comes at a time the Government is pushing its devolution agenda of industrialising production zones to boost local economies through employment creation.

In an annual report for 2022, the company’s chairman Mr Todd Moyo said the new mill is set to start operating early next year.

The food processing giant is also embarking on an exciting period of expansion with the entry into a number of new categories, as it seeks to value and add its portfolio of basic products.

Mr Moyo said the introduction of a new milling plant will see the localised manufacturing of products, which had previously been imported, reducing foreign currency requirements and increasing demand for locally processed products.

This is in line with the Buy Zimbabwe campaign, which has seen more people buying more Zimbabwean-made products and is fully supported by the Government as it is critical in attaining an upper-middle-class status by 2030 anchored by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

“The prospects for the current winter wheat crop look encouraging which is a most welcome development as it will reduce import dependency. National Foods continues to play a major role in supporting the local contracted wheat crop,” he said.

The Buy Zimbabwe campaign has helped drive a robust private sector-led initiative resulting in increased local products and the creation of jobs consistent with NDS1.

The chairman added that National Foods continues to keenly support contract farming of maize, soya beans, wheat, sugar beans, sorghum and popcorn.

“During the current winter season around 12 000 hectares of wheat has been planted, representing a significant portion of the contracted crop.

that National Foods continues to keenly support contract farming of maize, soya beans, wheat, sugar beans, sorghum and popcorn.

“In addition to this, 40 000 tons of maize and soya beans were delivered during this year’s summer cropping programme.

“The various products grown under this programme now constitute a significant portion of the Group’s raw material requirements,” he said.

Meanwhile, the food giant’s revenue for the year increased by 33 percent to record $128,4 billion, driven by both volume growth and inflation-driven price increases.

The food giant’s revenue for the year increased by 33 percent to record $128,4 billion, driven by both volume growth and inflation-driven price increases.

The group’s volume for the period increased by eight percent to 569 000 tonnes from 523 480 tonnes compared to the prior year.

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