The Member of Parliament for Masvingo West Ezira Ruvai yesterday called on the government to revive Mashava Mine because some of the workers there had gone for 10 years without receiving their full salaries.
He said the board and the management of the mine were allegedly dealing corruptly and inefficiently with the affairs of the mine.
Ruvai said that at its peak the mine employed 4 000 people and was the sixth largest producer of chrystolite asbestos in the world. It contributed 10 percent of foreign currency earnings to treasury and supported a further 20 000 people directly or indirectly.
“People of Mashava community are pleading with the government and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to revive the mine and restructure the board and management who are alleged to be dealing corruptly and inefficiently with the affairs of the mine. I call upon members of this august House, through the Portfolio Committee on Mines, to set an inquiry into the operations of the mine,” he said.
MR. RUVAI: Mr. Speaker, allow me to congratulate His Excellency Comrade R. G. Mugabe for his resounding victory and election as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. President Mugabe is a dedicated leader who abides by the principles and policies of the liberation struggle, jealously and firmly guarding the sovereignty of this country. His Excellency the President, addressed every aspect which builds the economy of this great country, despite the sanctions imposed by the West. It is through his rich wisdom that we have managed to navigate the turbulent economic waters.
Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker Sir, for being nominated Speaker of this august House. I would also like to extend my profound gratitude to the Members of Parliament for their triumph in the 2013 harmonised elections.
I am acutely conscious that I stand here, first and foremost, as a representative of Masvingo West Constituency and wish to express my gratitude to them for the confidence they have reposed in me. Our strategic focus on the key transformational sectors, namely water and roads, confirms our commitment to pursue a balanced and sustainable development path for Masvingo West Constituency.
On health, Mr. Speaker Sir, I believe that good health is a basic human right and a vehicle to economic growth and as such, we need to transform this sector in my constituency. Currently, only one ward out of eight wards under my jurisdiction has a clinic that serves a population of more than 30 000 people. In a society affected by health issues such as HIV/AIDS, maternal care and child health, it has been brought to the fore that most deaths have been aggravated by the vast distance between the single medical centre and those in dire need of medical attention.
These are some of the policy issues that the Ministry of Health and Child Care needs to look into to mitigate the current situation:
• That the training centre at Sipambi Growth Point in ward 11, constructed by the late Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Sports and Culture, Hon. Mudenge, which is being underutilised be converted into a hospital.
• Have mobile clinics and increased outreach to remote areas. This can address issues such as ARV supplies, TB tablet supplies, maternal care for pregnant mothers as well as immunisations and vaccinations for children.
On agriculture, Mr. Speaker Sir, it goes without saying that agriculture is the key to boost growth and development to rural areas in this country, thus it remains a very important activity in the economic life of families in Masvingo West. For years, we have seen a constant drift of population from rural to urban areas because of the decline of our agriculture enterprises. Agricultural development, therefore, is not only about increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but about restoring hope, economic activities and stability in rural areas.
In my Constituency, agriculture continues to be depressed owing to recurrent drought, thus there is a dire need to mitigate the risks caused by such natural occurrences. In this regard, Mr. Speaker Sir, as we develop the agricultural sector along the lines proposed in the National Strategic Plan outlined by His Excellency, I would like to appeal to the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to look into the following areas:-
• Rehabilitation of the Mushandike Irrigation Scheme. The scheme has been greatly affected by water shortages due to the insufficient supply from the Mushandike Dam to irrigate the 1000hactres of land, which covers three wards. From a feasibility study conducted by ZINWA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, it was noted that there is a great possibility of drawing additional water from Muzhi Dam, which will also be of great benefit to the areas along the pipeline. There will bean additional 5000ha for irrigation from Muzhi Dam where we draw water.
• Establishing Agro-Parks – piloting a number of Agro-Parks in the state land lying idle between Muzhi Dam and Mushandike. This will be an opportunity for graduates with a common interest, combined management and a business motive to access the Agro-Parks and assist in the transformation of the sector. This will provide a sustainable platform for continued development of Masvingo West agriculture and by extension, our economy.
• upgrading of agriculture farm roads and other infrastructure;
• provide continued support for livestock development for meat and dairy products;
• support agro-processing initiatives by providing the required funding and access to market; and
• increased planting activities.
On education, it is a fact that education forms the backbone of an operational society. With reference to my constituency, the issue has a major cause for concern. Additional secondary schools are required in my constituency, in Ward 9, 10 (b), 7 and 33, because students walk a distance of more than 10 km to go to the nearest secondary school. The unavailability of educational facilities, especially at secondary schools has not only affected the quality of education in the area, but has led to low pass rates, an increase of school drop-outs and hence, increasing the number of unemployable candidates that cannot match the requirements of job market and tertiary institutions. There is also need to upgrade the existing structures as the current ones have failed to attract qualified staff, leading to staff shortages and poor services.
On water, the general well-being of the society largely depends on provision of clean and safe water supply system by responsible authorities. Crippled by lack of funds to resuscitate water points, most boreholes in my constituency are lying idle due to break down and because of the unavailability of spare parts. The constituency has for ages been without access to clean water. From the survey that was conducted by the community fields group, it was highlighted that 30 boreholes need to be rehabilitated to meet the demands of the population, whilst 42 new boreholes need to be erected to overcome the water shortages.
Currently, villagers are obtaining drinking water from unsafe sources posing a health hazard, apart from walking long distances just to get the cleanest water. I would like to appeal to DDF, through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to construct and rehabilitate more boreholes in my constituency.
On roads, they are the veins that control and promote viable, social and economic development of any serviceable society. The state of the roads in my constituency is bad and continues to degenerate every year because of the rains and lack of maintenance. The roads are in grave need of maintenance and because of their bad state, transport problems have arisen as transport operators have shunned the routes. Poor road systems in the area have increased inaccessibility, undesirable impact on the exchange of goods and services, thereby inhibiting economic and social expansion. I would like to encourage the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development to look into the rehabilitation of the following roads:
• 30 km Mashava-Mushandike-Bondolfi road needs maintenance and construction of a bridge through Mushandike River in Ward 9 and 33;
• Bati-Ngomahuru-Mukorsi Road.
• Mashava-Peter-Mayo Road in Ward 33;
• Sipambi-Chibaya-Charumbira-Nemanwa road in Ward 11 and 12; and
• Nwengavi-Charumbira Ward 10.
On Youth Empowerment Mr. Speaker Sir, in line with His Excellency’s Speech on youth empowerment, it should be inevitable that we include the youth in every aspect of development so as to ensure a stable economy for future generations. The youth play a fundamental role in nation building as they form the basis of manpower in the economy. The massive brain drain and substantial migration both local and beyond borders, has affected the nation’s service delivery systems, hence there is need to curb this from grassroots level, which is our constituencies. From the feedback meetings held with the youth of my constituency Madam Speaker, my constituents proposed the following:
• To fully embrace the indigenisation drive. There is need to put the youth in the frontline of every activity such that, in the not so distant future, they can have full control of the resources of their constituency and can form a legacy that will ensure sustainable growth of our rural communities.
• To promote youth involvement in decision making positions such as social, economic and political decisions as they are in a better position to clearly articulate the challenges they face in their day to day activities.
Madam Speaker, on mining, Government’s Economic Revival Programme is focusing on harnessing, enhancing and developing mining activities. In my constituency, we have Gaths-Asbestos Mine which is facing closure due to capital constraints. The mine is still trying to recover from the harsh economic conditions of the previous years, as a result of the illegal sanctions imposed by the West. The major concerns are the people and employees surrounding Mashava, who are now facing hardships due to non-payment of salaries. The people have now gone for more than 10 years without receiving their full salaries.
At its peak, the mine employed more than 4 000 workers and was ranked the 6th largest producer of Castolite fibre asbestos in the world. At full capacity, the mine can contribute about 10% of foreign currency earnings to Treasury. It is estimated that 20 000 people benefit either directly or indirectly from the mine. Historically, the mine has contributed significantly to the socio-economic development of people in Mashava Mine, the surrounding communities and the nation at large. People of Mashava community are pleading with the Government and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to revive the mine and restructure the board and management who are alleged to be dealing corruptly and inefficiently with the affairs of the mine. I call upon members of this august House, through the Portfolio Committee on Mines, to set an inquiry into the operations of the mine.
In conclusion, as I commence my term of office with vigour and valour, my commitment and wish is to successfully implement our articulated development agenda for Masvingo West, which is influenced by the ZIM ASSET programme. Despite the restrictive economic environment that is hindering national development, we optimistically look forward to bringing progressive development to the people of Zimbabwe by providing employment, contribution to national income and socio-economic gains if Mashava mine is revived and restructured.
In doing so, we will continue to put Masvingo West on the fore-front as we fulfill election campaign promises and adhere to our core values of transparency, accountability and good governance. Let us do it together. May God bless our constituency, this august House and Zimbabwe at large. I thank you.