6 TheStandard September 14 to 20 2014 Local News Insurance firms take Zimra to ConCourt The impasse between the two organisations has now spilled to the Constitutional Court BY CHARLES LAITON Daggers have been drawn between the Tour Operators Business Association of Zimbabwe (Tobaz) and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) with the former accusing the latter of creating a monopoly in the issuance of insurance cover. The impasse between the two organisations has now spilled to the Constitutional Court (Con- Court) with Tobaz seeking to bar Zimra from “unconstitutionally operating as an insurance company” while leaving its mandate of collecting revenue. Tobaz is an association of tour operators in Zimbabwe who provide a wide range of insurance services in the country which include arranging for motor vehicle Delta, Dairibord at loggerheads over advertising BY FELUNA NLEYA insurance for foreign registered vehicles entering the country. In its application, under case number CZ23/14, Tobaz cited Motor Insurance Pool of Zimbabwe, Zimra and the chairman of the Insurance and Pensions Commission as first, second and third respondents respectively. “The second respondent has then proceeded to itself issue out insurance cover on behalf of the first respondent. It must be emphasised that the first respondent is an association of short term insurers and is not itself an insurance company and cannot therefore offer insurance services,” Tobaz said in its application. “Zimra has declined to accept insurance other than that issued by itself as agent for the first respondent in the issuance of TIPs. It published a public notice which It is a legal requirement that all foreign registered vehicles entering Zimbabwe be issued with a Temporary Import Permit (TIP). advised that it could only issue insurance cover for the purposes of the issuance of TIPs.” “The effect of the above is that a monopoly has been created by Zimra, ICZ and Ipec. No one else can venture into insurance in the area covered by the monopoly. There is no legal authority for this state of affairs. Zimra is not a registered insurer. It cannot lawfully issue insurance, even as an agent of another,” Tobaz added. Tobaz further said its members had been barred from issuing insurance policies or arranging for the same for foreign registered vehicles and that much business had as a result, been lost. The billboard at the centre of an advertising storm between Delta Beverages and Dairibord Holdings. Picture: Aaron Ufumeli. An advertising war has erupted between two of the country’s leading beverage manufacturers, Delta Beverages and Dairibord Holdings. Delta Beverages recently erected a billboard along Rekai Tangwena Road next to Dairibord Holdings’ factory, advertising Super Sip, a ready to drink dairy beverage which was introduced onto the local market late last year to rival other existing dairy fruit flavoured beverages by Dairibord. The move by Delta Beverages to advertise competing beverage products in the vicinity of Dairibord Holdings’ premises has not gone down well with the milk producer which manufactures Cascade, a competing nutritious dairy fruit mix. “Obviously this is mischief,” Dairibord Holdings’ spokesperson Emeldah Shoko said. “Our loyal and valued consumers know that Dairibord Holdings products like Cascade, Nutriplus and Yoghurt are genuine quality dairy based offerings that contribute towards the sustenance of good health and should not be confused with imitations on the market.” “Dairibord Holdings has a heritage of providing nutritious foods and beverages to the nation and the region which spans over half a century.” However, Delta Beverages spokesperson Alex Makamure defended the beverages manufacturer’s move, saying there was no unfair practice as their advert was placed on a publicly available space. “Advertising sites come up at different times as the space is limited,” Makamure said. “We lodged a request for sites and the supplier had this particular one available. There is nothing unfair in advertising a product on publicly available spaces.” “We have signed a long-term contract with the supplier for this site and we will be rotating our brands as our brand campaigns evolve.” This is not the first time that competitors have engaged in aggressive marketing campaigns as local cigarette manufacturer Savannah Tobacco erected its billboard advertising its products just at the doorstep of its competitor British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BAT) along Simon Mazorodze road in Harare. “This has been an unnecessary restriction of the applicants’ members’ right to carry on their profession as brokers and providers of insurance,” Tobaz said. According to Tobaz, it is a legal requirement that all foreign registered vehicles entering Zimbabwe be issued with a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) and that one of the legal requirements for the issuance of such a TIP is that the importer must have valid insurance cover for the period of the validity of the TIP. “The applicant contends that neither the first nor the second respondents are registered as providers of insurance in accordance with the Insurance Act. This BY CHRISTOpHER MAHOvE BOgUS municipal police officers are on the rampage in Harare’s Central Business District, extorting money from unsuspecting street vendors. Harare Metropolitan Police Chief Inspector, Rachel Mawoyo, told a meeting of vendors and council officials in Harare on Thursday that her office was aware that there were bogus municipal police who were confiscating goods and extorting money from vendors in the city. She said council was on the hunt for the suspects. Mawoyo said those approached by anyone claiming to be from the municipal police department should demand identification before surrendering their goods and money. “We know that there are bogus police officers on the sprawl, some of them that we know are former employees who were dismissed from work a long time ago. We are looking for them and we will get them arrested,” she said. Mawoyo said any vendor approached by anyone they suspected to be a bogus officer should phone her office immediately for assistance. “If anyone approaches you and you are not sure about them, call our national control centre and we will deploy our officers immediately,” she said. is not denied by these respondents, suffice to say that the Motor Insurance Pool alleges that it has been allowed by the minister responsible for the administration of the Road Traffic Act to issue out insurance policies,” Tobaz said. “This need not detain us. Only registered insurance providers can issue motor vehicle insurance cover under the Road Traffic Act. To this end therefore, the agreement is ultra vires the Insurance Act and the Road Traffic Act.” Zimra is yet to file its response and the matter has not been set down for hearing. Tobaz is represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri. Bogus municipal police on the rampage The vendors had complained during the meeting that they were not finding their confiscated goods when they followed to the municipal offices to pay their fines. They said some corrupt officers were also confiscating their goods and giving them to their “runners” who would then sell the items on their behalf. Mawoyo said municipal officials who were engaged in such acts risked being arrested and losing their jobs. “We do not send people out there to come and steal from you. It is unfortunate but we don’t expect that kind of behaviour from our officers, especially women officers who know the pains of looking after families,” she said. Mawoyo said confiscated perishables were supposed to be forwarded to the Zimbabwe Republic Police Licensing Department who would either destroy or auction them, adding that the law on perishables did not allow council to destroy what would have been confiscated. Vendors confirmed at the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) organised meeting that they knew of Municipal police officers who had multiple vending stalls and enjoyed strategic immunity from the police. “This patrimonial system has hit hard those that do not have their own patrons to protect them,” CHRA said.
Local News TheStandard September 14 to 20 2014 7 Renewed hunt for gold in Penhalonga Displaced from farms during the farm invasions, hundreds of desperate and poor people have ventured into illegal gold mining, leaving a trail of environmental destruction BY CLAYTON MASEKESA THE dust road meanders down to the Mutare River, then breaks into a dirt path. Red dust puffs up as hundreds of fatigued, barefoot illegal gold miners march in single file, carrying hoes, picks and shovels. Women, schoolchildren, young and old men wade across the river to the eastern bank. There they cut trees, overturn rocks, and push the debri into Mutare River, choking it with mud. The disconnected sound of hammers drowns out the rush of the river. Saungweme Mountains and Mutare River close to Redwing Mine have been besieged by the illegal gold panners. Pushed by endless poverty, desperate illegal gold seekers have begun a new wave of panning, tearing down Zimbabwe’s countryside in Penhalonga’s DTZ Ozgeo Redwing Mine in search of the precious stone. They are leaving behind a trail of destruction that includes devastated fields and forests, mudchoked rivers and mercury-tainted water along the Mutare River. Widespread hunger that has wreaked havoc in the small mining area has forced virtually everybody regardless of gender or age to join the gold rush following the closure of the mine in March this year. Penhalonga has become synonymous with gold panning where gold seekers follow mining concessions belonging to the gold mining concern. The Environment Management Agency (EMA), closed sections of the Russian-owned DTZ Ozgeo operations along the Mutare River. EMA stopped the company from mining, ordering it to rehabilitate land where it carried out previous operations and to complete an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA). Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said the government will not entertain appeals by the Russian gold miner to be allowed to resume alluvial mining operations at the mine. The miner, a 60/40 joint venture between Econendra of Russia and the Development Trust of Zimbabwe, in May this year appealed to Parliament to lift a ban on alluvial mining saying it would be forced to dismiss its nearly 500 workers following the closure of the mine. “We are not backtracking on our stance because DTZ has not communicated with us. Even if they do, it won’t be of any significance,” Kasukuwere said. He said the ministry was updating legislation to include a ban on riverbed mining practised by several companies. “We took a decision as government that mining along riverbeds will not be tolerated. The law will prescribe the certain minimum conditions that have to be met before mining can go ahead as in the case of DTZ,” Kasukuwere added. However, like many of the young unemployed youth, Privilege Kamusoko (25) has joined the gold rush, after hearing that Penhalonga was “overflowing” with gold. “All I am looking for is survival. I want to survive and fend for my family. I’m here because of hunger, because there is nothing for my family, no food for them,” he said. Kamusoko, who is one of many Gwejas (illegal gold panners) said in a “lucky” week, he can make more than US$500 from selling gold at US$40 per gramme, but most of the money is used to buy food. The buyers come from in and outside the country. They are seen milling around the nearby business centres in Chinyanjera and Tsvingwe. The two business centres have become a hive of activity owing to Illegal panners near Saungweme Mountain the cash that is exchanging hands. “There are many teenagers doing this. If you come in the evening, you’ll see the sheer number of people mining here who come back to their camps in the mountains,” said Kenneth Madziwachando from Tsvingwe in Penhalonga. Displaced from farms during the farm invasions, hundreds of desperate and poor people have ventured into illegal gold mining in Penhalonga, leaving a trail of environmental destruction of unprecedented magnitude. Farmers, environmentalists, and traditional leaders are alarmed by the destruction. Mutare River is fast filling with silt, harming ecosystems as well as farming, fishing, and drinking water. The illegal miners cut and burn wood indiscriminately to fuel their makeshift camps. The illegal panners use mercury and cyanide to separate gold from the ore, and then flush the toxins into the same river. A visit to some of the mining fields in the area revealed that the illegal panners arrive at the river in the afternoon and during the night in search of the precious mineral. “Before, there was a lot of gold and few people panned for gold because that time there was food and people didn’t care about gold. Right now, because there is hunger all over, people have come from all over to mine and are competing to have the few pieces of gold,” said Madziwachando. Children have also joined in the gold hunt and, like countless others, are missing out on education. They have traded the education books for the pick and shovel and are hoping for a golden ticket out of poverty. Manicaland police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Luxson Chananda said he was still to get information on the new gold rush. “As of now, I do not have complete information on the invasion of the mine by the gold panners. We will do some investigations and I will come back to you with full information,” said Chananda. Nevertheless, Chananda said, the police have been urging people to desist from illegal gold mining as it has many dangers associated with it. The community’s hopes rest on the establishment of mining laws that promote investment and development. “What we need are international investors to come in and mine for gold and benefit the community,” said Chief Mutasa. “We need the government to offer licences to locals to do proper mining by giving them claims. This will provide some jobs to the local community and some basic services.” According to police, an estimated 400 illegal gold panners are refusing to vacate Mutare River banks and Saungweme Mountain in Penhalonga. Villagers and residents in Penhalonga’s Tsvingwe high-density suburb said the illegal panners were causing serious social problems in the area such as drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution and violence. Unilever launches Geisha Musha Mukadzi campaign BY OUR STAFF UNILEVER recently celebrated the role of Zimbabwe’s mothers through the launch of the Geisha Musha Mukadzi campaign. The campaign is a celebration and acknowledgement of the many women and mothers that have achieved great things in their different walks of life. Speaking at the event, Unilever marketing director Juliet Ziswa said the company prided itself with quality brands that had added value to its consumers and communities every day. Unilever is the manufacturer of household brands such as Omo, Sunlight, Royco, Geisha, Vaseline and Stork margarine. “Through a research that we did among our consumers, we found out that mothers are not only looking for real value and benefit for the whole family, but also natural products that are mild and gentle and leave the skin looking healthy and cared for,” she said. “We have gone and borrowed from nature and developed a new Geisha. The new Geisha is sourced from nature. We have used the pure and gentle goodness of nature that leaves your family’s skin looking healthy and well cared for.” Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development minister Oppah Muchinguri said the ministry was working closely with women in the country to ensure that progress was made in empowering the Zimbabwean women. “Since independence women in the country have achieved a 95% literacy rate which has placed us a step further to achieving gender equality. The ministry has worked hard in realigning legislation that affects women in our society,” she said in a speech read by her deputy Abigail Damasane. “We are therefore very excited as a ministry when there are businesses like Unilever through Geisha, who take time to acknowledge and celebrate women that have made great impact in their communities. Geisha has become part of every home, symbolisng a mother’s love.” Unilever marketing director Juliet Ziswa presents a Geisha hamper to Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Abigail Damasane at a branding launch ceremony in Glen View recently.