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MP bemoans Nkayi timber 'looting'

by Staff reporter
01 Oct 2023 at 07:44hrs | Views
The Nkayi Rural District Council is facing calls to improve its monitoring and protection of timber resources, which are being illegally harvested by companies, with no tangible benefits reaching local communities.

Jabulani Hadebe, the Member of Parliament for Nkayi South, expressed concern over the lack of mechanisms to safeguard natural resources in the Matabeleland North district. He highlighted widespread unauthorized logging of timber in the Gwampa Valley, mainly by companies from other regions of the country.

Hadebe, representing the Citizens Coalition for Change, suggested that the Nkayi Rural District Council should establish a security department within the vicinity of the affected forests, under its environment and natural resources portfolio. He called for capacity-building within an enforcement division to effectively manage the issue. Hadebe also advocated for legislation ensuring that the local community benefits from its natural resources.

Furthermore, Hadebe proposed that preference be given to companies willing to establish beneficiation industries that generate employment in the area when granting timber harvesting licenses.

However, Silibele Mpofu, the chief executive of Nkayi RDC, refuted claims of illegal timber harvesting in the district. She explained that timber harvesting was primarily conducted by the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe in Ward 30. Mpofu added that local companies would ideally be prioritized for timber harvesting, but they often lack the necessary documentation or may not exist.

Matabeleland regions, including Nkayi, have long complained of marginalization, with limited development progress since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. Residents also argue that they do not reap the benefits of the area's abundant natural resources, as contracts to exploit them are frequently awarded to outsiders.

Source - southern eye
More on: #Nkayi, #Timber, #Looting