By Nyamayaro Chitsinde
Stakeholders in the mining sector have called on government to consider amending the archaic Gold Trade Act in order to allow free movement and trading of the precious mineral.
They said the current piece of legislation was hindering free movement and trading of gold which, at most cases result in smuggling of the yellow metal.
Engineer Chris Murove said the legislation, enacted before independence, should have been long buried when the country attained independence.
“This gold Trade Act is a repressive remnant from colonial era which should have been long buried, but it still rears its ugly and dangerous character every now and them.
“Just because Zimbabweans now have their hands on the levers of power does not make these repressive laws any more acceptable. They must be changed,” he said.
Eng Murove said the possession of gold should be decriminalised.
“While some form of regulation is necessary, seeing that even money and liquor is regulated, it is the extent of the regulation which created a monopoly in the form of Fidelity Printers and Refiners and it is debatable.
“Look at the heavy sanctions that will be brought upon one even for your own gold if you break these regulations you will be a criminal,” he said.
In March 2017, a Kwekwe woman was sentenced to five years in jail by a Gokwe magistrate after she was found guilty of possessing 0.22 grammes of gold without a licence or permit.
Tynos Chinogurei, a miner said the amendment of the Gold Trade Act was long overdue.
“It is high time that government level the mining field by amending the Gold Trade Act. The thorn in the flesh of some miners is the possession of gold which is criminalised by the Act. So I feel there is need to consider amending such laws that are counterproductive,” he said.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) chief executive officer Mr Wellington Takavarasha is on record saying that there was a need to decriminalise possession of gold.
“Our contribution has been to see that the Government repeals or considers de-criminalisation of possession of gold and expedite the formalisation of small-scale mining activities,” he said.
Recently, Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda told the House of Assembly that there were gaps in the Gold Trade Act that required urgent filling.
“The Gold Trade Act which addresses the need for clear cut and consistent policies that protect the lives, safety and well-being of small-scale miners must also be looked at. There is no doubt that the small-scale miners are making a significant contribution to the country’s economy.
“As such we need to address the policy gaps in the Gold Trade Act especially those clauses that criminalises the possession of Gold and in turn disempower the small-scale miners,” said Adv Mudenda.