Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

NGOs call for stoppage of ‘cruel’ coal project in Zimbabwe

The community of Dinde is lobbying African governments and those of other countries to help to force the Zimbabwean government to respect their constitutional rights. This as a Chinese-owned investment company, Beifa Investments is forcing 600 families out of their homes, to make way for a coal-mining project.

Human rights activist and the director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance, Farai Maguwu told the Mail & Guardian that the centre wants China to stop financing coal projects in Africa and the one in Dinde, Zimbabwe in particular. 

“The people must be respected, especially their right to live on their ancestral land without being harassed. Chinese finance should support renewable energy,which has the promise of great results for the people and the environment,” Maguwu said.

The action by the centre, a coalition of several NGOs and trade unions, is aimed at preventing the risk of major pollution and a looming environmental threat, should Beifa Investments be allowed to mine coal in the area, which is in northwest Zimbabwe, close to the Zambian border.

“The major risk is pollution of the Nyantuwe River, the only source of water for humans and livestock [in Dinde]. Due to [the] politicisation of minerals the Environmental Management Act is now ineffective, hence they [the government] can’t be trusted with enforcing environmental regulations,” Maguwu said. “Beifa Investments also intends to construct a 270 megawatt power plant which significantly affects air quality in Dinde.” 

According to Maguwu, the coalition is planning to submit a petition to the Zimbabwe Mines Ministry, and international NGOs and media are paying great attention to the developments in the case.

“The Dinde case is also casting a spotlight on mineral governance in Zimbabwe, how the ruling elites are entering into personal, corrupt deals with fly-by-night investors,” Maguwu said. “Because these deals are for personal benefit, there is no consultation with people. To deal with resistance, the ruling elites are also abusing state security to intimidate and harass local communities. This is a growing concern.”

Beifa Investments has proposed relocating the people of Dinde from their ancestral land, which had stirred much conflict. However, the coalition says any possible relocation will have to be agreed to by the community first.

“The challenge is the precedent set in Marange, eastern Zimbabwe, where the government displaced 1 300 families to pave [the]  for diamond mining. The moment the government and companies succeeded in moving the families off their land they broke all the promises they made before the displacement,”said Maguwu.

Neither Beifa Investments nor the Zimbabwean Ministry of Mines responded to questions from the M&G by the time of publication

Chris Gilili is an Adamela Trust climate and economic justice reporting fellow supported by the Open Society Foundation

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Chris Gilili
Chris Gilili is a climate and environmental journalist at the Mail & Guardian’s environmental unit, covering socioeconomic issues and general news. Previously, he was a fellow at amaBhungane, the centre for investigative journalism.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

ANC members take legal action over council selection disputes

Nine ANC members in the North West’s Greater Taung Municipality have sent a letter to the national list committee threatening to go to court should the ANC not respond to their demands.

Court judgment about alien fish is about more than trout...

Judge finds that public participation in democratic processes is not the exclusive preserve of the privileged few who have access to the internet and can read English

More top stories

Ramaphosa calls for public nominations for new chief justice

The president has named a panel of experts to help him draw up a shortlist of candidates in an unprecedented move that opens the appointment to consultation

Q&A Sessions: Meet the rhino whisperer, Cathy Dreyer

Cathy Dreyer, the first female head ranger of the Kruger National Park, speaks to Sheree Bega about earning the trust of black rhinos by reading to them and why the park’s hard-working rangers deserve the admiration of all South Africans

Zondo asks court for state capture commission report deadline to...

The state capture commission report will not be ready by the end of September, and Zondo says he believes it will be in the public interest to grant an extension

Municipal employees to get a 3.5% increase after wage deal

The South African Local Government Association said a three-year wage deal had been agreed on the remuneration of municipal employees
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×