The appeal was made during presentations by women miners at the launch of the Broad Based Women Economic Empowerment Framework last week. The women said they were failing to effectively carry out mining activities because political heavyweights tended to muscle them off their claims.
“Our problem is the so called big chefs. Whenever we discover mining claims in an area, you see people coming to tell you to stop your mining activities saying this place is now reserved for boss so and so.
‘‘The situation is getting out of hand. We are therefore appealing to you President (Mugabe) to make sure that this system of just grabbing mining claims at will is stopped forthwith. Women miners are being persecuted and yet we are creating employment in the areas from in which we operate,” said small-scale gold miner Spiwe Mhungu, from Kadoma.
Mutare-based miner, Constance Kunaka, said that the situation was being made worse by the fact that mining and business laws were not gender sensitive.
She said women were being excluded from decision making in the mining sector, a trend she blamed for their continued marginalisation. “There are serious constraints for women miners in accessing financial resources for their projects,” she said.
Other concerns raised included the lack of adequate machinery for them to carry out their operations, high mining licence fees and huge spot fines of $8,000 being demanded by the Environmental Management Agency for flouting environment regulations.