Kwekwe City bat­tles ar­ti­sanal min­ers

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Free­dom Mu­panedemo Mid­lands Bu­reau

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.

Cde Mav­ima

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.