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Gold Rush Haunting Masvingo North, Social Leaders

By Martha Leboho

Hwendedzo environment in Masvingo North has become a victim of rampant informal mining a development that has led to the rise of extreme land degradation, Post on Sunday understands.

Traditional leaders, Chiefs and headmen present during a recent tour by Zimbabwe Union of Journalist (ZUJ) panel in Masvingo North have shown dismay towards harsh environmental destruction brought about by informal gold seekers during the massive gold rush in 2021.

One of the social custodians present during the tour Village Head Siyani Chinomwe downplayed government reluctance on such diminutive environmental issues and called for authorities to act fast in rehabilitating Hwehwedzo.

“We appeal for Government to assist with any help in any way possible. Even if it is going to be a food for work project because we can’t convince villagers to volunteer in the rehabilitation of the degraded land since they did not benefit anything from the gold mine, ” Chinomwe said.

Chinomwe urged local youth to utilize and benefit from local resources other than foreigners tapping and looting raw natural resources.

“The youths here blame us for being powerless when foreigners loot gold in their eyes. They (locals ) were brutally assaulted by police officers but foreigners were tapping rich gold fields. It is the locals who should benefit first and foreigners later.”

Also present during the tour was Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Provincial Environmental, Education and Publicity Officer Brian Makani who highlighted on the importance of land rehabilitation and campaigns that EMA has already put in place.

He added that EMA has already embarked in key environment revamp programmes and awareness campaigns around Masvingo North.
“We have embarked in awareness campaigns with villagers in sorrounding areas and also educating them on how to apply for mining licenses.

We have also educated them on the consequences of illegal mining and its penalty.
The intervention of law enforcement agency during the gold rush here helped a lot otherwise we could have had a large portion of hill damaged.”

Fauna and Flora Zimbabwe director Fidelis Nyamukondiwa said they have mobilised volunteers who will participate in the land rehabilitation programe a move that will also help in achieving the common goal.

“FaFloZim team of volunteers is willing and ready to work with the villagers. We are currently mobilising resources to help rehabilitate the area.

Mining activities left huge damages to the environment. The bio structure of the whole area has been put at risk and it’s high time we find solutions,” said Nyamukondiwa.