BUBI Rural District Council has accused top politicians and senior police officers of being behind rampant illegal gold mining activities in the area.

 Council officials made the sensational revelations during a media tour of the district organised by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) on Monday.
During the tour, Zanu-PF councillor for Ward 8, Herbert Ngwendu spoke bitterly about the alleged looting of gold in the area.

He said locals were not benefitting from the riches in their area.
The councillor said they had given up reporting the cases to the police as no action was being taken.

Cllr Ngwendu said it was difficult for the police to take action as some of their bosses and some top politicians were behind the illegal activities in the district.

“High offices are involved in this chaos including politicians. The issue started last year in August because that’s when those with detectors arrived. I wish I had keys to get access to those offices so that I could tell them to stop the harm they are doing to us. I’ve got names of those people but it won’t be safe for me to give them to you but I know them. I‘ll never tell you because I fear for my life and that of my family,” Ngwendu.

“These people are violent, they carry machetes and as I speak three of my children are disabled now because of these people who come all the way from Shurugwi, Gwanda, Filabusi and Silobela and are all over the shore. They also don’t want to see locals.”

He said because of alleged corruption at the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, locals who submitted their applications to be allowed to prospect for minerals were not being considered.

“The illegal mining activities are also fuelling the spread of diseases as the miners leave their families behind and pay locals for sex. This is not promoting our nation at all but instead, killing it.”

Bubi RDC Chief Executive Officer, Partson Mlilo told The Chronicle yesterday that senior politicians and police officers were involved in illegal gold activities.

However, Matabeleland North police spokesperson, Inspector Sipiwe Makonese denied the allegations.

“If there is anything like that, there is an anti-corruption team on the ground to stop things of that nature,” said the police spokesperson.

She added that there were also police officers on the ground arresting law breakers as “what is illegal remains illegal no matter who you are.”

During the tour of the district, Matabeleland North Provincial Environmental Manager, Chipo Mpofu-Zuze said the illegal mining activities were regrettable.

“Mining itself is allowed but one should follow the proper protocol to acquire all the required paper work which grants them permission to mine on designated sites. Bubi appears to be the most affected district due to its rich gold deposits. But what we are witnessing here is utmost damage to the environment,” said Mpofu-Zuze.

“As we can all see the sites are filthy because no one cares to clean up since these panners are non-residents of these communities and don’t care. They burn the bushes when they are clearing their sites, destroying nature. We also have not seen any toilets meaning they use the bush and we can all imagine how the environment is polluted increasing chances of disease outbreaks.”

She said the sites should be reclaimed as they can be used in future for farming or to build schools and homes.

Bubi District Administrator, Tapiwa Zivovoyi told the meeting that there was rampant illegal mining in the district as it was rich in gold, diamond, copper, nickel and limestone.

“People just come with their detectors and settle themselves on the sites until they feel they are done without anyone being able to stop them,” said Zivovoyi.
The DA said unemployment was a contributory factor to the illegal activities. chronicle

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