Calls to formalise mining sector to tackle violence

By ZBC Reporter

THE Matabeleland South Small Scale Miners Association has stressed the need to formalise mining in gold-rich areas to bring to an end the culture of violence and curb mineral leakages.
The culture of violence that has permeated the small scale mining sector has not spared the mineral-rich province of Matabeleland South with some artisanal miners losing lives in battles over control of gold claims.
Matabeleland South Small Scale Miners Association Chairperson, Mr Khumbulani Moyo suggested that the government should intervene and help artisanal miners formalise their operations while also ensuring community participation in the sector.
“The challenge is that there are areas that were abandoned a long time ago by big mining companies. So whenever there are gold discoveries by locals, you find outsiders coming to invade the claims . How do we address the violence that then follows? by forming co-operatives and registering them,” he said.
The association also pointed out that formalising the mining sector will help curb mineral leakages.
Speaking at a mining indaba held recently, Gwanda district Superintendent responsible for crime and operations, Kenneth Chiriga said the organisation has put in place a number of strategies to deal with tribal and violent conflicts that have been reported in the mining towns.
“As an organisation we will be doing rand raids at mines, stop and searches for dangerous weapons, increase foot and cycles patrols. At the same time we want to encourage miners to shy away from illicit dealing “ he said.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, on the other hand, has been forming peace committees in gold-rich areas whose responsibility is to help identify issues that trigger conflict and provide solutions that will ensure social cohesion.
Machete weilding criminals have been terrorising communities across the country’s mining areas especially Mashonaland Central commiting crimes such as robberies, rape and assault, in Kadoma it led to the death of a police constable and the culprits are yet to be convicted.