Fungai Lupande Mash Central Bureau
ZANU PF has reached out to artisanal miners in Mashonaland Central who are facing challenges including increased fatalities due to lack of skills.
National Political Commissar, Cde Mike Bimha was at Jumbo Mine Mazowe last weekend where he met thousands of artisanal miners from Bindura.
Cde Bimha said the quest of the Government is not to leave anyone and any place behind.
He said the Government is going to assist and support organised artisanal miners to access lines of credit to purchase machinery to enable them to grow into entrepreneurs and increase productivity,
He added that artisanal miners also need support in getting requisite skills and knowledge to reduce occupational hazards.
Protection of artisanal miners at their workplaces so that they are not taken advantage of by corrupt police officers or chased away at their sites willy-nilly was also high on the agenda.
Artisanal miners are human beings who need help and support, said Cde Dimha.
“It is heartbreaking to hear of the fatalities among artisanal miner’s time and again. They need support in getting the requisite knowledge and skills to reduce occupational hazards and fatalities,” he said.
“To enable them grow to big successful enterprises, they need access to loans so that they purchase machinery and equipment to increase productivity
“When they get a place to operate from we don’t want them to be chased away by people who name drop or claim to have more money. Let us work together, Zimbabwe is for all of us and it is built by us.”
He said the meeting was necessitated by the need to listen to issues affecting artisanal miners which he will take up to the President and relevant ministries.
Turning to the state of Jumbo Mine, Cde Bimha said the issue of former employees of the mine and their families need to be addressed so that assistance can sustain their lives.
He advised police officers to stick to their mandate of enforcing the law and desist from corrupt activities at mining sites.
It emerged that nine murder cases were reported in one month at Jumbo Mine and Cde Bimha urged the miners to respect the sanctity of life.
ZAMA president Ms Constance Machona said people venture into artisanal mining to earn a decent living.
“You cannot leave us behind, artisanal and small-scale miners are now close to a million people. We are not criminals, there was no order creating an opportunity for criminals to hide amongst us,” she said.
“We have organised ourselves so that you can see our capabilities, small scale and artisanal miners contribute 60 percent of gold output annually. Fatalities among artisanal miners are caused by working under fear of being chased away.”
Provincial chairperson of ZAMA Isheanesu Dzimbiti said issues affecting artisanal miners in Mazowe, Bindura and Mukaradzi are similar.
“A few people from out of the province are benefiting from contracts to benefit from Jumbo Mine and we don’t know the criteria they are using,” he said.
“People in Mazowe are facing water challenges and resorting to unsafe drinking water. Mazowe was affected by drought and people are facing food shortages.
“Kitsiyatota mining site was given to youths by Zanu-PF, but it is no longer benefitting the party. Assist us in resolving the case. The same issue is happening at Mukaradzi mining site in Mt Darwin.”