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ZMF petitions government over unwarranted arrest of small-scale miners

 By Business Reporter – Tuesday 3 March 2020

SMALL-SCALE MINERS – HARARE (Mining Index) – ZIMBABWE Miners Federations (ZMF) has pleaded with government against indiscriminate arrests of properly registered small-scale miners as police intensify implementation of the recently launched No to Illegal Mining/ Operation Chikorokoza Chapera.

Operation Chikorokoza Chapera became evident on the 4th of January this year, and has continued to date with scores of illegal miners having been arrested to fulfil governments objective of weeding out illegal mining and machete gangs.

Gold rich areas had become a haven for informal mining and criminal machete gangs, with lives having been lost in bloody clashes between rival groups.

In a bid to protect emerging miners, the federation made a formal appeal to government, engaging the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Ministry of Mines.

“We kindly request that you engage your Commissioner for Operations so that the operation the police are doing should only target the illegal miners and not affect properly registered claim holders. We will continue to engage with The Minister of Mines and Mining Development Honourable Chitando so that these illegal miners are put in the mainstream economy by being formalized,” read part of the request made to the ZRP Commissioner General Godwin Matanga.

Takavarasha went on to request the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando to engage his counterpart, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Kazembe Kazembe to ensure sanity prevails in the mining sector when dealing with illegal artisanal miners.

“We kindly request that you engage your colleague Honourable Kazembe Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs so that the operation that the police are doing should only target the illegal miners. We will continue to engage with you so that these illegal miners are put in the mainstream economy by being formalized,” read part of the letter addressed to Chitando.

In January this year, supreme court chief justice Luke Malaba announced that government had established special courts in areas hardest hit by machete gangs to decisively deal with organised machete cliques that are terrorising miners and civilians.

“Unfortunately, the arrests made during the police operations have become indiscriminate where even properly registered miners in terms of the Mines and Minerals Regulation Act Cap 21:05 have also been rounded up or arrested for offences varying not but limited to small scale miners not having Environment Impact Assessment Licences (EIAs) from Environment Management Agency (EMA), protective clothing (PPE), no mine approved manager with some being arrested for unavailability of mine records,”

“Consequently, these miners have had their mining equipment being confiscated,” said Takavarasha.

He cited one incident that occurred on Mutoko.

“This anomaly is happening countrywide as the operation is being carried on. One such affected mine is Goshen Mining syndicate operating in Mutoko. Despite the management showing the certificate of registration, they had mining equipment confiscated, which include two Jack hammers, a crusher and pipes. Two of the mine employees were arrested,” he said. ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw 

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