Story by Tafara Chikumira
THE Judiciary has warned stakeholders in the mining sector to desist from corrupt tendencies in awarding mining certificates to curb mining disputes that have been flooding the courts.
It emerged during the official opening of the 2023 Gweru High Court Circuit that some unscrupulous miners are conniving with officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to issue fake mining certificates, thereby creating confusion in the sector.
High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese highlighted that the judiciary will not tolerate such corrupt activities by public officials adding that the law will take its course.
“It is improper for a Provincial Mining Director to simply issue a letter ordering the stoppage of mining operations at the insistence of one party to a dispute without carrying out thorough investigations. It has come to the attention of the courts that some mining operations are ordered to cease in order to allow one party to loot mining resources under the pretext that a dispute has arisen.
“The courts are currently inundated with mining disputes. The same cases are litigated over and over again, with the same parties and same subject matter. This practice must stop. What is of concern is that in specific cases, two or more individuals/entities, are issued with Certificates of Registration in respect to mining claims on the same location. This scenario raises a lot of questions and suspicions and must be urgently addressed by the ministry,” he said.
On politically motivated violence, Justice Makonese warned perpetrators that the judiciary is ready to deal with rogue elements ahead of the harmonised elections slated for this year.
“Those members of the public who shall violate the laws of the country will only have themselves to blame. It is important to underscore the fact that peace and security are at the core of any functional democracy. Any political contestation among political parties must be done within the confines of the laws of Zimbabwe. Political violence has no place in a democratic state.” he added.
The High Court Judge also expressed concern over the increase in the number of murder cases across the country.
The Gweru High Court Circuit has 17 murder cases that are set to be finalised in the first quarter of this legal year.