African Consolidated Resources chief executive Officer Andrew Cranswick has described South African companies now at Chiadzwa as “crooks.” But, it appears, ACR’s hands are not that clean either.
One of ACR’s subsidiaries, Mayback Investments, tried to “grab” four diamond claims in the Lundi area of the Lowveld from a Bulawayo businessman Rodgers Madangure in 2007.
Madangure was only saved after his lawyer, Vonani Majoko, established that geological maps had been altered to make it appear as if Madangure’s claims fell under the area fenced by Mayback.
Mayback already had 19 other claims in the area. It is not clear why they were interested in Madangure’s claims.
Majoko also discovered something else in the papers that Mayback had filed with the court that did not add up.
The opposing affidavit for Mayback had been filed by Archibold Hamadziripi Patsanza who said he was a director of the company responsible for operations.
A company search revealed that Patsanza was not listed among the directors of Mayback. Those listed as directors were Simon Astley Maberly, William Astley Maberly, Ian Harold Harris, Andrew Noel Cranswick and Graham Adrian Clark.
Patsanza is a geologist. He worked for De Beers for more than 10 years but started working for ACR as a consultant in October 2005.
In his affidavit, Patsanza said Mayback had owned the claim that Madangure said was his since March 2006. It had no reason to engage in any unlawful activity as it was owned by an internationally public listed company.
Though Mayback had indeed registered its claims in March 2006 and Madangure had only registered his almost a year later in February 2007, Madangure said in his answering affidavit to Patsanza’s that a site inspection had revealed that someone had tampered with the geological maps at the mining commissioner’s office in Masvingo. There were two maps both labelled 2131AB2.
One of the maps showed that the claims that Madangure’s claims were in Mayback’s fenced area. The other showed that the claims were at least one kilometre away from Mayback’s area.
Madangure argued that the map that showed his claims as falling in Mayback’s area “was a poor attempt at reproducing the correct map”.
“I have sought the opinion of a land surveyor to assist me in interpreting the survey results. His opinion is that the 1st respondent’s (Mayback) claim nearest to the fenced area is about 1 kilometre away and that definitely the fenced area does not fall within 1st respondent’s claims,” Madangure said in his affidavit.
“I refrain from beginning to say anything about the origins of the wrong map. This is obviously something 1st respondent must resolve with the 2nd respondent (Minister of Mines and Mining Development).”
Officers from the Mining Commissioner’s office in Masvingo, Beacon Inspector C. Ndatsitsikwa and surveyor, Mr W.Maguta, insisted that Madangure’s claims fell under Mayback’s area.
Majoko challenged the officers’ conclusions and said he was taking up the case with the mining commissioner, and that was how the dispute ended.
Asked about the case this month, Cranswick said: “The manipulation of claims maps has become rife and very worrisome for the sector that you simply cannot trust departments not to fiddle with maps.”
Two companies with South African ties, Mbada and Canadile, have entered into joint ventures with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and are mining at Chiadzwa.
The High Court ruled last year that ACR is the legal owner of the Marange (Chiadzwa)diamond claims.
Cranswick told SW Radio in April, “….. the State has mined Marange for four years yet not one cent has flowed back to the Zimbabwe people and now we want to let South African crooks manage our natural resource? Is that sensible?”