Gwanda mayor Lionel DeNecker has blamed the town’s developmental woes on illegal gold panning, which worsened last year.
“As council we realise that gold panners are destroying Gwanda not only by stealing its resources for their own benefit, but also by causing physical land degradation with the trenches they make,” he said.
“We will not rest throughout this year until this criminal activity is stopped and I can tell you that the police are doing their best to catch those responsible.”
DeNecker said Gwanda was a mining town and people from around the country had taken this as an excuse to “rob” the town of its precious minerals.
“People who do not even stay in Gwanda are usually the perpetrators of this crime.
“They come from all over Zimbabwe to rob Gwanda of its gold and this is unfair because we are meant to be benefiting from our own resources,” he said.
DeNecker alleged senior government officials may be involved in the illegal activities.
“There is no political wheel turning to curb this mining. This may be because some of the people who are involved in illegal mining are senior government officials themselves,” he said.
“This is a cause of concern knowing the efficiency that our police force has in Gwanda.”
DeNecker said Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube was in Gwanda recently to find ways of improving the town’s industrial sector.