By Tafara Chikumira
ANOTHER miner has drowned at Olympia seven mine in Shurugwi barely a month after a miner lost his life at the same bloc under similar circumstances.
A dark cloud is hovering above Shurugwi’s Sebanga park extension, also known as the Dark City, after 17-year-old Tinashe Chimbidzikai drowned in a mine shaft this Sunday evening.
“It was the three of us including the deceased. It was now time for us to go for our shift as usual. The deceased was in front as we entered the mine. It was a bit dark inside and we were using our torches. I just heard a huge bang and I drifted back. I then peeped inside and saw the deceased’s wallet floating,” said one of the survivors.
“I was the last one in line when my friend told me about the incident. We then went out to inform our supervisor on what had happened so that we could get a rescue plan. We were later taken to the police station where our statements were recorded,” said another survivor.
In a telephone interview, Shurugwi District Development Coordinator, Mr Romeo Shangwa who is also the head of the Central Protection Unit in the area, confirmed the sad development which has left the family and community devastated.
“I am hurt that my son has left me in such a way. It’s not anything any parent would expect for their child. What hurts me most is that the owners of the mine have not visited us since Sunday despite the fact that my child was working for them for the past three years. Am also being told they even disown my son yet he appears in their registers,” said Chris Madzima, father to the deceased.
“My son is gone and yet he was a breadwinner. My biggest worry is that the mine owners have not even visited my family to offer their condolences. Another worry is that they have not contributed anything towards the funeral despite the period my son served at the mine,” said Colleta Ndeya, mother to the deceased.
According to management at the mine, the miners who were employed by the mine were carrying out illegal operations at the time of the incident.
“I can confirm that these miners were part of our team. However you need to understand that during this period underground is usually unsafe. I advised the boys not to enter the shaft for fear of the water-related accidents. However when I left the mine, I left the boys over there only to be told that one of them had drowned. So I would say whatever they were doing was not authorised by the mine,” said one Moses Hwetse.
The incident comes barely a month after another miner drowned at the same mine on the 20th of December last year with his body yet to be retrieved.