Mazowe residents live in fear of machete gangs
Residents of Mazowe area near Jumbo Mine Road are living in fear of the violent and wayward behaviour of artisanal miners who have invaded a hill adjacent to their settlement.
The artisanal miner’s operations, which involve the use of generators, compressors and other heavy duty machines has since disrupted the once good environment around the suburb.
Residents who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisals from the marauding artisanal miners said they are living in fear of violent clashes among the groups.
In one of the violent clashes, the miners chased their colleague into one of the houses where they attacked and injured him.
The occupants a mother and her children had to run for their dear lives. The victim was seriously injured and later died.
“The artisanal miners operate in gangs and these gangs occasionally in serious clashes which has in some instances turned bloody endangering the lives of other people,” the resident said.
“We have a new school that has opened here and we are worried about the safety of our children and their ability to concentrate in school with all these illegal activities that is happening around them.
“We have engaged the police and while they have been conducting raids the operations have been sporadic. We need a lasting solution to this problem.”
Another resident said they are living in fear because of conduct of the artisanal miners.
“It is bad enough that the machines that they use make a lot of noise in the afternoon but it is especially at night that we have a serious problem,” said one of the residents.
“We cannot sleep peacefully because of the noise that will be coming from the top of the hill. We simply cannot have such activity close to a residential area.”
Another resident said that some of the artisanal miners were now in the habit of taking shelter in houses that are still under construction without the consent of the owners.
“It is happening and the affected people are afraid to speak out because they do not want to be victims of these artisanal miners, who are literary a law unto themselves.”
The residents said they have been mobilising on a way forward and one of the courses of action they have taken was to draft a petition which they intend to hand over to the police and council.
Mazowe Rural District Council Chairperson Mr John Mudzonga said there was wrangle over land ownership and the issue has been rectified.
“We are reacting to this issue. The area was pegged long back and people were complaining that they cannot develop the area in its state,” he said.
“We have found an investor interested in taking up and developing the area. Soon the miner will be removed.
“There are no mining claim in that area and the artisanal miners are mining illegally.”
MP for Mazowe South Fortune Chasi said the issue of artisanal miners is a headache in that area.
“We need resources to deal with the issue, residents cannot contain the issue because the miners are armed. Mazowe police station is aware of what is happening,” he said.
Mazowe district development coordinator Mr Mark Kadaira also acknowledged the distractive nature of artisanal miners saying they are capable of anything and they have caused deforestation of the area opposite Mazowe Dam.