Kwekwe City battles artisanal miners
ACTING Kwekwe town clerk Mrs Lucia Mkhandla has said the local authority is battling artisanal miners that have turned the city’s main sewer pipe line into a “restricted” zone after vandalising it to access water for their gold panning activities.
Mrs Mkhandla said groups of artisanal miners have camped along the sewer pipe line to access water and were attacking council officials intending to repair the pipes.
She was briefing the new Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Cde Larry Mavima on the state of the local authority at his offices yesterday.
“This is the major challenge that we are facing as the local authority at the moment,” said Mrs Mkhandla.
“The city is predominantly a mining city and the challenge we are experiencing is that artisanal miners are vandalising our sewer pipes to access water for their activities.
“It is difficult to access the vandalised areas because they have turned them into restricted zones and are attacking anyone planning to repair the vandalised pipes.”
Mrs Mkhandla said they have enlisted the assistance of the police, but to no avail.
“If we get assistance from the police to move the artisanal miners from the vandalised area for purposes of repair, they simply go and vandalise another part of the pipeline, it’s really a challenge,” she said.
She said at times the artisanal miners engage in violent clashes and running battles over control of the areas.
“It’s a unique challenge we are experiencing right now,” said Mrs Mkhandla. “We are yet to establish why the panners have suddenly developed an interest in using the sewer water for their panning activities.
“It never used to be a problem. At times they turn the areas into a war zone, clashing and violently attacking each other over the control of these sites.”
Mrs Mkhandla said the situation was posing a health hazard in Kwekwe and the local authority was exploring ways of trying to contain the situation.