Government moves to curb illegal mining in park
ENVIRONMENT minister Mangaliso Ndlovu says his ministry has partnered with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to remove hordes of illegal gold miners who have invaded the Chimanimani National Park, threatening the existence of wildlife in the area.
This follows a public outcry over hundreds of illegal gold panners who invaded the game park last month, cutting down trees and polluting a major river in the area with harmful chemicals.
“The rate of environmental destruction that is taking place is really disturbing.
“It is also within a national park and what we have done is to deploy teams together with law enforcement agencies who as we speak are on the ground and should be able to stop the illegal activity taking place there.
“We are also putting resources there with the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) to ensure that we support the continued police presence in the area.
“We are in discussions with the police to ensure that we are able to protect those areas for a sustained period,” Ndlovu told the Daily News.
The minister further indicated that staff at the park would be temporarily reshuffled to facilitate an investigation into allegations of corruption.
This comes as there are reports that some park authorities were working with the illegal miners.
“It’s possible that there could be a syndicate of rangers promoting the illegal mining activities but if we are ever going to deal with corruption … we need to continuously encourage our citizenry to come on board and report such matters to the police.
“I have seen the videos of the illegal mining activities on social media and I have since asked ZimParks to ensure that the work there is done without any interference.
“So, there will be temporary reshuffling of staff. They will be moved to other areas to make sure our investigations are carried out without interference.
“Those found mining illegally and those who have engaged in corrupt activities will be arrested.
“There are no two ways about it, but the rate of destruction is quite alarming.
“I am told that a mountain there has been dug right across. It is quite unfortunate,” Ndlovu said.