Zimbabwe: Penhalonga Artisanal Mining Activities Threaten Water Infrastructure

13 May 2020

Concern has been raised over proliferation of illegal artisanal gold miners engaging in dangerous operations that are threatening water infrastructure in Penhalonga, and provision of clean water.

Mutasa South legislator Regai Tsunga raised these concerns over this issue in a letter addressed to the Ministry of mines, requesting their intervention to stop the illegal mining activities.

Tsunga said the local water reservoir is now facing imminent collapse and contamination.

The MP wrote a letter to minister of mines Winston Chitando as early as 14 April, 2020 to raise his concerns and the authority recently responded with a promise to take action.

In the letter Tsunga said besides possible contamination of water reservoirs the local community was exposed to diseases including cholera.

"I write to kindly request your good office to urgently intervene and stop the illegal / artisanal gold mining that is happening just by the water reservoirs at Tsvingwe in Penhalonga ward 21 Mutasa South Constituency in Manicaland Province.

"The water reservoirs are at risk of not only contamination, but also imminent collapse due to the excavations, if this happens residents of Penhalonga will not have portable water supply thus exposing them to contracting diseases such as cholera and indeed Coronavirus.

"The said mining activities not only clearly threaten the residents right to safety , clean and portable water as enshrined in section 77 (a) of the same constitution," read part of the letter.

"Residents have registered, quite strongly, their disapproval of the mining adventures of this mining adventure as been seen in their social media groups," he said.

In response Minister Chitando acknowledged the issues raised by Tsunga and said they are now seized with the matter.

He said he has tasked the provincial mines team led by Provincial Mining Director Omen Dube to resolve the matter.

"Thank you honourable Tsunga for alerting us of the need to deal with dangerous operations threatening infrastructure, the issues are being forwarded to Manicaland provincial mining director Omen Dube so that he can deal with the matter," said Chitando.

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