Zim Trust Agreements May Not Be Enforceable

Rough DiamondsHarare: Agreements which are claimed to have been made with diamond miners for support for Zimbabwe’s Community Share Ownership Schemes or Trusts, which come under the purview of the country’s Ministry of Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment, may not be enforceable.

According to NewZimbabwe.com, at a sector parliamentary committee which took place last week, acting secretary for Youth and Indigenization Simon Masango told the committee that diamond companies in Marange were reluctant to honour the US$10 million dummy cheques displayed by President Mugabe at the launch of the scheme.

“We all thought that they would honour the pledges but only two out of six companies at least paid something to the community,” said Masango, as quoted by the news source, adding that “This is largely because there was no written agreement which obliged these companies to do so,” said Masango.

According to the Ministry’s website, the trusts are “a vehicle for participation in shareholding in various businesses by our communities.” All non-indigenously owned businesses involved in commercial exploitation of natural resources are expected to establish the trusts, which become shareholders in the business. The money earned is then used for community development projects in the areas in which they operate.

Diamond mining companies in Manicaland were reportedly supposed to pay US$10 million each into the Marange-Zimunya Trust in a scheme confirmed by President Robert Mugabe in 2012, according to NewZimbabwe.com.

The parliamentary committee is continuing investigations into the manner in which the community share ownership trust and youth funds were managed by government under the former Minister Kasukuwere, says the new source.

Masango is quoted by the news source as saying that “there is need for re-negotiations to ensure that these companies honour their pledges,” and that the current Minister, Chris Mushowe together with his counterpart from the mines have engaged the diamond companies so that the communities could at least “get something”.