By Mining Reporter – Tuesday 14 January 2020
HARARE (Mining Index) – FOLLOWING continued reports of violence among artisanal miners who invade mining claims while attacking competitors, special courts have been set up in areas hardest hit by machete gangs in most mining towns and cities.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba revealed special courts have been set up nationwide to decisively deal with organised machete cliques that are terrorising miners and civilians.
Malaba said the aim of the special courts is to prove the Zimbabwe judiciary system has capacity to fight crime and enforce the law.
“Special courts to specifically try the cases have been set up in all affected areas across the country. I call upon all stakeholders in the administration of justice to make concerted efforts to end this problem,” said Malaba at the opening of the 2020 Legal Year.
Machete hooligans have become a menace in gold mining areas where artisanal miners have flourished over the years in search of the yellow metal.
These machete gangs have been nicknamed MaShurugwi or Vemabhemba as reports of violent clashes over the control of mining claims continue to be reported across the country, especially in the Midlands province in towns and cities like Kwekwe, Kadoma, Shurugwi and Chegutu.
In December 2019, some artisanal miners who were affected by violence and robbery called on government to come up with a Statutory Instrument (SI) that bans machetes, advocating for imprisonment of up to five years if one is caught in possession of this weapon.
During the 18th ZANU PF Annual National People’s Conference held in Goromonzi in December 2019, President Emmerson Mnangagwa called on artisanal miners to desist from violence which has rocked the mining sector, denouncing the use of machetes.
“The Party commends the role of small scale miners in growing our mining sector, in particular, those in the gold and chrome sub- sectors. I call on those in this sub-sector to desist from violence and other illegal activities. Pasi neMabhemba!” he said.
In a report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project released in November 2019, at least 105 people were murdered while 221 assault cases were reported at mines all in a space of three months in violence prone mining areas of Kadoma and other neighbouring districts. ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw