Illegal miners invade Mberengwa school

ILLEGAL miners are digging pits at Vanguard Primary School in Mberengwa District putting the classroom blocks at risk of collapsing. 

When the Daily News crew visited the school, there were pits dug close to the blocks, while the illegal miners were roaming freely around the premises, holding shovels and picks as they explored for gold.

Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said he has not yet received a report, adding that they would probe the issue. 

Locals, who spoke to Daily News, said they tried in vain to stop the illegal miners from advancing very close to the classroom blocks. 

“We are facing a big challenge here at Vanguard because of these amakhorokoza, who probably discovered a gold belt here and they are already digging holes at the school to get the mineral. 

“Besides land pollution, we fear that they might advance and cause classroom blocks to collapse. We have made efforts to stop them, but they do not listen,” said Nisbet Dlodlo. 

He added that the blasting and mining activities within the school’s vicinity were now making a lot of noise, making it difficult for learners to fully concentrate in class. 

Another local Jane Maphosa said they have engaged local traditional leaders and the police, but no action has been taken yet. 

“We filed a police report and we hope that authorities will take legal action against these illegal miners. 

“They have become a nuisance to our community. This time, they are mining at a school, which puts our children at risk,” she said. 

Maphosa added that the amakhorokoza are violent such that no civilian can drive them away once they discover gold in an area. 

“They probably need the army to drive them away because if we try to approach them, they will fight us, they are violent,” she said. 

Another local Siphiwe Moyo is now fearing for young girls and women in the area because amakhorokoza are also accused of being violent sexual predators in most of the areas they infiltrate. 

“We fear for our girls because they might be raped or engaged in sexual relationships. These amakhorokoza are known for that and they have destroyed many girls’ lives,” she said. 

Mberengwa Miners Association chairperson Anderson Tsikira condemned the illegal miners’ behaviour saying they were not part of his association. 

“These people are not registered under us and they do not subscribe to our code of conduct. If they were part of us, they were not going to behave this way.  

“We are pro-development and we do not condone any behaviour that seeks to destroy public institutions or any infrastructure that benefits community. We will investigate more into this and establish who the culprits are,” he said. 

Tamary Chikiwa