Zimbabwe: Police Declare War On Illegal Panners

Zimbabwe Republic Police officers.

The Officer Commanding ZRP Mashonaland Central Commissioner David Mahoya has declared war against illegal alluvial gold miners along Mazowe River which supplies water to Bindura and Shamva.

Police have established a permanent base at Bindura water treatment plant and are increasing patrols along the river as part of efforts to stem the problem.

Bindura Municipality draws water from the river and they were using 25 bags of aluminium sulphate because the water is heavily polluted.

Following the recent visit by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Dr Aaron Nhepera, the police increased their patrols along the river and Bindura Municipality is now using seven bags of treatment chemicals.

"We have engaged the local authority so that they give us a base for our police officers on patrol," said Com Mahoya.

"We are going to have teams that are going to be patrolling upstream along the river. The problem is not only here but shared along the river up to Mazowe Dam. We are going to engage farm owners along the river to ensure that illegal settlers are removed. The major problem is that farm workers are harbouring illegal miners who come from other places."

Bindura Town Clerk Mr Shangwa Mavesera said the illegal mining activities are also threatening the availability of water in Bindura.

"Small dams are being built along the river by gold panners while some farmers are diverting the water into their fields," he said.

Mr Mavesera said they have plans to de-silt the portion where they are drawing water.

"The best solution however, is to expedite construction of Bindura dam. Our engagement with the police has resulted in a great improvement in the quality and quantity of water. We will assist the police with what they need because the relationship has made great strides," he said.

ZINWA catchment manager Ms Colleta Tundu said Mwenge Dam in Mazowe district, which supplies water to Mazowe river is 85 percent full.

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