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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Kwekwe house collapses into a mine shaft

Story by Tafara Chikumira, Midlands Bureau Chief

A Kwekwe family has been left homeless after their house collapsed into an underground mine shaft in Kwekwe’s Globe and Phoenix suburb.

For 23 years, the Rusike family has known House Number 1 Silver Oaks in Globe and Phoenix low-density suburb as their permanent residence that would benefit generations to come after acquiring the property at the turn of the millennium.

Little did the family know that illegal gold miners would leave them homeless after the priced property collapsed into a mine shaft dug underneath their house in search of the precious metal.

“The first problem happened sometime last year when part of the dining room collapsed. We thought it was nothing major but as a safety precaution, we moved out after a relative offered accommodation in Newtown. However, we left some valuables and tenants. On Sunday we were informed that a catastrophe had hit our property,” said Miss Kimberly Rusike.

“When we came to check, we realised that the whole kitchen and a toilet had sunk into a sinkhole. It’s quite traumatising to imagine if we were still occupying the property and if the tenants were in the house at the time we could be telling a different story. The house has since been decommissioned meaning we have been left with nothing,” she added.

With cracks all over the block of flats at the Globe Court which houses over 200 people, fears of a catastrophe are evident in the eyes of tenants who are treating each passing day as a miracle.

“Every other day we hear blasts from underneath the surface as amakorokoza go about their business. Windows and doors always shake as the blasts go on. We no longer know what to do anymore. Imagine if all these flats were to collapse what would happen to us.

“Living in this neighbourhood is now traumatic. The fear of waking up with no home is now a reality. How can one survive knowing pretty well that there are mining activities underneath? I appeal to authorities to put an end to all this madness.

“As a resident, it is natural to live in fear. We have children who play outside and knowing that we are floating above some mineshafts is quite scary. The most difficult times are when the illegal miners do their mine blasts which shake the whole yard,” said residents who spoke to ZBC News.

The government is working on corrective measures to prevent a catastrophe and is considering shutting down mining activities in the suburb.

“It is hard to see that we have people practising such barbaric activities that endanger other people’s lives all because of greed. This is the 21st century and we expect people to behave in a civilised manner. I will be sitting down with my team to find a lasting solution to the problems affecting this place and some of the recommendations we are considering include the complete closure of mining activities in this city,” stated the Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Larry Mavima.

The collapse of the Rusike homestead comes barely three months after the decommissioning of Globe and Phoenix Primary School after a classroom block collapsed leaving 17 children injured.

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