Gold pan­ners take over Esigo­dini

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

GOLD pan­ners have re­port­edly taken over Esigo­dini town in Mata­bele­land South, rais­ing con­cerns over the rise in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties par­tic­u­larly mur­der which have es­ca­lated over the past few years.

The Na­tional Peace and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion (NPRC), fol­low­ing the mur­der of a 26-year-old man on Thurs­day evening, is now seek­ing to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter. The Com­mis­sion also said it was con­cerned about sim­i­lar de­vel­op­ments in Gwanda.

The com­mis­sion will be work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions and the Zimbabwe Chris­tian Al­liance to es­tab­lish and pos­si­bly come up with a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem. NPRC Com­mis­sioner Les­lie Ncube said it was im­per­a­tive to look into the is­sue, as hu­man lives were at stake and that the rise in mur­ders in the towns had set a wrong prece­dence.

“We will leave no stones un­turned as we look into this mat­ter and we will be set­ting up com­mit­tees that will be steered by com­mu­nity mem­bers as soon as this com­ing week to as­sist in car­ry­ing out in­ves­ti­ga­tions. This place is like a war zone and it is not within our cul­ture to have peo­ple run­ning around com­mit­ting crimes of mur­der, let alone be­ing law­less,” he said while ad­dress­ing mourn­ers yes­ter­day at the fu­neral of Mr Nkosi Ndlela who was killed in cold blood in Esigo­dini by sus­pected pan­ners, af­ter he tried to pro­tect his fi­ancée from be­ing as­saulted.

Com­mis­sioner Ncube said no one was above the law and has the right to be­have like a demi-god.

“When you re­port a case to the the po­lice they de­lay in at­tend­ing to the scene. Take this in­ci­dent for in­stance, our brother was mur­dered and it took them an hour to at­tend to the scene un­til the as­sailants made-off,” said a brother to the late Mr Ndlela, who pre­ferred anonymity.

He said there were or­gan­ised gangs that were run­ning the town and com­mu­nity mem­bers were no longer safe in their own town. Some fe­male mourn­ers also ex­pressed con­cern, that they no longer felt safe walk­ing the streets even in broad day­light.

“These pan­ners are dar­ing. They in­de­cently as­sault us and our chil­dren in broad day light. They even take baths stark naked, in full view of the pub­lic and they don’t care. There is so much law­less­ness in this town and we ask the po­lice to be firm. When the same peo­ple break the law all the time, peo­ple start ques­tion­ing why po­lice are not ar­rest­ing them,” said one woman.

Mean­while, ri­val min­ing groups clashed at Vhovha Mine in Gwanda last week, re­sult­ing in the death of one per­son and in­jury of sev­eral oth­ers. Ri­val gangs at­tacked each other with ma­chetes, axes, logs and stones in a sus­pected con­flict over a min­ing claim. Eleven sus­pects ap­peared in court for mur­der and were re­manded in cus­tody to 24 Oc­to­ber.

Speak­ing in an in­ter­view on Thurs­day af­ter a meet­ing with the Zimbabwe Chris­tian Al­liance and var­i­ous stake­hold­ers, NPRC chair­man, Com­mis­sioner Sello Nare said plans were un­der­way to re­solve dis­putes among min­ing com­mu­ni­ties in the prov­ince.

“One of our func­tions as a com­mis­sion is to rec­on­cile peo­ple. There were very dis­turb­ing in­ci­dents in Gwanda caused by tribal con­flicts and they re­sulted in the death of a per­son and in­jury of sev­eral oth­ers. We de­cided to come to in­ves­ti­gate what re­ally tran­spired and to see what rec­on­cil­i­a­tion we can bring to this area. Gwanda was known to be a peace­ful place and it’s alarm­ing that we have such vi­o­lent in­ci­dents which have re­sulted in the loss of life. We are also work­ing on what to do in or­der to en­sure such in­ci­dents are not recorded in the fu­ture,” he said.

Comm Nare said they were in the process of com­pil­ing re­ports on the in­ci­dent. He said there was no need for com­mu­nity mem­bers to fight over is­sues of re­sources. He urged min­ers to form con­sor­tiums to en­sure that their op­er­a­tions are reg­u­larised.

Comm Nare urged min­ers from other prov­inces to de­sist from in­vad­ing Mata­bele­land South Prov­ince and il­le­gally oc­cu­py­ing mines which be­longed to lo­cals as that was a source of ten­sions. Ri­val groups form al­liances based on where they come from.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.