Zimbabwe: 13 Days and Counting, Task Mine Workers Trapped in Collapsed Shaft

Mine shaft (file photo).
21 September 2020

Five artisanal miners are still trapped under a mine at Task Mine Syndicate in Chegutu, 13 days after the shaft collapsed, with relatives bemoaning the slow pace of rescue efforts by the mining company.

The trapped victims are Crynos Nyamukanga, Munashe Nyamukanga, Shingai Gwatidzo, Charles (surname not supplied) and Constantino Dzinoreva.

Speaking to this publication, a relative to some of the victims who preferred anonymity bemoaned the snail pace at which the rescue mission is going while accusing the mining company of a reluctant approach towards saving their relatives.

"There is a real chance that our relatives are still alive if we are to consider information from those who are doing the search. According to them, they are not yet getting dead body smells. However, our relatives' endurance may come to no avail due to Task Mine's snail pace approach to the whole operation," said the source.

He added, "a few artisanal miners from the area who have been offering to join the rescue team and increase manpower have been shut out. We really feel that Task Mine is more concerned about the stones within the shaft, they probably fear that the stones may be lost to the fresh individuals joining the team, but all at the expense of our relatives' lives."

Responding to these comments, Task Mine chairman, Timothy Masvipa told 263chat that rescue operation guidelines which do not allow volunteers to enter the shaft have seen them sticking to the small team identified for the job.

"This is a legal mine and so we can't just do whatever we want, we are forced to abide by the guidelines prescribed for rescue operations," said Masvipa.

He added that his company's failure to keep up with the cost of rescuing the five trapped individuals has also affected rescue pace.

"We are quite a small company and to this end, it has been quite difficult for us to keep up with the cost of the whole rescue mission," he said.

According to Archiv Fur Kriminologie the human body can survive for 8 to 21 days without food and water, and with the clock ticking fears are time may be running.

Of those with the ages supplied, Munashe Nyamukanga is the youngest of all five. Nyamukanga is 17-years old.

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