NEW gold deposits have reportedly been discovered in Gwanda town, triggering a rush for the precious mineral from panners.
Report by Khulani Nkabinde
Suspended Gwanda mayor, Lionel De Necker, who is Ward 10 councillor, said the deposits were discovered on Monday at Hampden Plots.
“As usual, gold panners have moved in and the police had to respond to restore order,” he said.
“As it is, the police have cordoned off the area, it is a residential area and, therefore, one cannot just mine in such an area.”
Gwanda is a gold-rich district attracting panners, who have descended on the area.
Police and the panners have often fought running battles as the law enforcement agents try to keep order.
De Necker said the discovery of gold in the area was a blessing in disguise for the impoverished mining town.
“Gwanda Town Council should get royalties from any gold mining activities that may take place in the area,” he said.
“Presently, the town does not benefit from mining activities that are taking place around, as mines pay royalties only to the rural council.”
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Nkosilathi Sibanda confirmed that police on Tuesday had cordoned off the area to keep away panners and other gold diggers.
“We arrested three people for gold panning and the rest ran away,” he said. “There were a lot of people there. The panners were causing a lot of land degradation at the place.”
Gwanda town, the Matabeleland South provincial capital, is surrounded by gold mines.