Chitando cornered over Hwange Colliery

Members of the Mines Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Monday threatened not to pass the Mines ministry budget if Mines minister Winston Chitando continued to ignore previous recommendations to do with the mining sector.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Chitando had appeared before the committee to give oral evidence on issues relating to Hwange Colliery Company when the Temba Mliswa-chaired committee reminded him that he had not yet implemented recommendations on matters raised during the Eighth Parliament.

“Minister, we did two reports during the eighth session of Parliament, where we made recommendations on different issues, including Hwange (Colliery), but these were not implemented and yet the first thing that you were supposed to do as minister was to go through these reports,” Mliswa said.

“We have no choice, but to say that this was never done, and if you do not stick to the Mines Committee recommendations, then we will not support the Mines ministry budget.”

The recommendations included that Hwange Colliery must reclaim its market share lost to Zambezi Gas and Liberation Mine, both which were now supplying coal to the Zimbabwe Power Company.

The committee also recommended that Hwange Colliery Company should approve the sale of its houses to current and former employees in order to reduce debts owed to employees.

“Requirements for foreign currency by Hwange Colliery must be prioritised at the same level as fuel and other national priority projects. Hwange Colliery must keep its own coal-rich concessions and not just give them away, as they are strategic assets to Hwange,” Parliament recommended.

“All concessions must be reviewed and all unused or underperforming concessions must be recalled on the use-it or lose-it principle. The Hwange Colliery board, which is heavily undercapacitated through lack of numbers and experience, must immediately, be reconstituted. Management is not experienced in the mining sector and Hwange Colliery, therefore, requires an individual with vast mining experience to be appointed to manage it.”

Chitando’s response was that, as a way forward, his ministry would give updates every two weeks on progress made in implementing the committee’s recommendations.