By NQOBANI NDLOVU
A MINER from Inyathi, Bubi district in Matabeleland North has pleaded with the Mines and Mining Development ministry to intervene and resolve his mine dispute with a private-owned company linked to former white commercial farmers.
Clement Moyo, the proprietor of QCB Syndicate, is embroiled in a gold mining claim ownership dispute with Morven (Pvt) Ltd whose directors are cited as one Mr T Harris and Clive Hallamore, according to court papers at hand.
The gold mining claims are in Inyathi’s Famona area.
The fight for control of the gold mining claims has spilled to the High Court with Justice Thompson Mabhikwa on October 23 issuing an interdict directing that all mining operations cease until the ownership dispute is settled.
Court papers show that QCB Syndicate has been operating in the area for years. However, Morven Pvt (Ltd) is now claiming ownership of the claims.
In a letter to the secretary for Mines Onesimo Moyo dated December 10, lawyers representing Moyo’s QCB Syndicate accused Matabeleland North mining director F Ngulube of failing to resolve the dispute because he was biased in favour of Morven (Pvt) Ltd.
“The objective of these submissions by the syndicate is for the Mines secretary to intervene in this dispute and amicably resolve the same.
“It is our belief that the dispute is a minor dispute capable of amicable and objective resolution,” the letter of complaint by the lawyers read in part.
“However, this can only be achieved if the matter is considered by someone objectively.
“It is the belief of the syndicate that the commissioner is no longer considering the manner he has been handling this matter.
“There are a lot of grey areas which forced the syndicate to ground a reasonable belief of bias against it by the commissioner.”
Last week, artisanal miners backed by villagers staged a mini demonstration protesting against attempts to evict QCB Syndicate to pave way for Morven (Pvt) Ltd.
“It terms of various provisions of the Act, the commissioner is empowered to conduct hearings, make decisions, hear and lead evidence under oath or otherwise, preside over disputes as a court, issue warrants of arrest, subpoena witnesses, impose fines, commit someone to prison, award costs, among other powers…,” the lawyers added. “However, what is key and paramount is that a reading of the Act in whatever dispute does not allow the commissioner to do away with the right of affected parties to make submissions and conduct a hearing before a decision is made.
“When the law is considered it is our clients’ submission that the commissioner failed to discharge his duties fairly and in a just manner as mandated by the law. “The commissioner exhibited bias against the syndicate in favour of Mr T Harris and Morven Mine (Pvt) Ltd,” the lawyers said.