SC 2015-01 - Report of the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation & Economic Empowerment on The Green Fuel Chisumbanje Ethanol Project

1. Introduction
1.1 In line with its oversight role as provided under Standing Order No. 160 (c), the portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment undertook an enquiry into the progress made in the implementation of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Laws. The enquiry was occasioned by the committee's desire to fulfill the objectives of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM-ASSET) Social services and Poverty Eradication Cluster. TheZIM-ASSET economic Blueprint states in chapter 3 that by coming up with the ZIMASSET, Government seeks to address on a sustainable basis, the numerous challenges affecting quality service delivery and economic growth. The plan is expected to consolidate the gains brought about by the Land Reform, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and Ernployment Creation Programmes, which have empowered the communities through Land Redistribution, Community Share Ownership Trusts and Employee Share ownership Schemes, among others". In this regard, the Committee noted that the realization of sustainable development and social equity anchored on indigenization, empowerment and employment creation lies in compliance with and full implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment laws.
 

2.0 Objectives
2.1 In its inquiry the committee was guided by the following objectives;
(i) To assess the levels of compliance to the Indigenisation policy by qualifying businesses;
(ii) To assess the extent to which the indigenous have benefitted from the programme;
(iii) To verify and ascertain the situation on the ground in the wake of conflicting and contradictory statements about developments in Chisumbanje; and
(iv) To profer recommendations on the achievement of community empowerment.
 

3.0 Methodology
In undertaking this inquiry the committee adopted the following methodology.
3.1 Oral Evidence Sessions.
The committee held oral evidence sessions with the management of Macdom of and Green Fuel on the level compliance with the Indigenisation policy as well as their corporate social responsibilities on community empowerment. The committee also accepted a request for interface made by the Platform for Youth Development (PYD) to appear before the committee on chisumbanje Ethanol project. The committee also received evidence from the chisumbanje and chinyamukwakwa Traditional leaders as well as the Enivironmental Management Agency (EMA).
3.2 Written Submissions
The Committee received wiitten submissions from PYD, Chief Garahwa- Headman Musuki Matambanadzo and Green Fuel Pvt Ltd Workers.
3.3 Fact Finding Visit
The Committee undertook a fact finding visit to the Ethanol Project in Chisumbanje on l1 July 2014 with the main aim of verifuing the existence of community projects that Green Fuel claimed to have initiated for the community.
3.4 Public Hearing
The Committee conducted a public hearing at Chisumbanje Primary Scliool on I I July 2014 to gather the views of the community on the Ethanol Project and its impact on their livelihoods.
 

4.0 Background
4.1 In early 2008, Green Fuel represented by Macdom Investments, acquired the right to lease land measuring 5112 hectares from ARDA, where it built an ethanol plant. The land has since increased to 9,375 ha and is under sugarcane. The project was initially welcomed as it was anticipated that it would lead to the employment of people in the area and uplift the quality of life of households in Chisumbanje.
4.2 Based on the geography of the area, most of the land came from adjacent land owned by communal small holder farmers. This was to be done through progressive accrual until the full acquisition of the proposed 45 000 ha of cane by 2020.
4.3 In the process, the company started to encroach into surrounding communal land in Chisumbanje, Chinyamukwakwa and Matikwa villages without adequate consultation with the community, as the said land was not vacant but was used by the villagers for their crop production, livestock grazing and for other cultural uses.
4.4 An Inter Ministerial Cabinet Task Force headed by the then Deputy prime Minister, Professor A.G.O. Mutambara, was dispatched to Chisumbanje in 2012 to help solve the
simmering crisis besetting the Green Fuel Ethanol Plant and the community. The Task Force made several recommendations, one of which was the need to expand the District Ethanol Project Implementation committee (DEplc) to include other stakeholders,
4.5 The recommendations carried in the Inter-Ministerial Cabinet Taskforce Report suggested that:
4.5.1 Land acquisitions to the project were supposed to be District Council in accordance with the Communal Lands Council decisions enabling this particular land acquisition
aligned according to the Inter-Ministerial report regularized by Chipinge Rural Act (Chapter 24:04) and rhat be reviewed, harmonized and;
4.5.2 The company should immediately compensate and resettle the 117 households that had offer letters and were displaced from ARDA estates. The farmers and the company
were to engage directly to negotiate terms for the farmers to continue to live on the estates as out growers and producers to the Ethanol Project.
4.5.3 The company should immediately compensate households that lost crops in the process of developingthe Project's dams and canals in accordance with the assessments
of crop damages that were carried out by the department of Agriculture Rural Extension (AREX) officials and further corroborated with information obtained directlv from the
affected communities.
4.5.4 There be an asset audit (i.e. Iand, livestock, crops, buildings, equipment and family size) for each displaced household so that compensation and resettlement is meaningful
and that some of the displaced households must be accommodated as sugarcane out growers, and producers ofother products and services, to the Ethanol Project.
4.5.5 The grievance that not enough local people are being employed must be addressed.
4.5.6 In order to avoid future acrimonious community relations, Government and ARDA should maintain an effective oversight of the implementation of the project and that the
District Joint Implementation Committee should be broadened to include the Council Chairperson, all local chiefs, the local Member of Parliament, two councilors, two
workers union representatives and four representatives of the displaced and affected households, two being from chisumbanje and two from chinyamukwakwa.
4.6 It was against this background that the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment visited Chisumbanje on I I July 2014.

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