VELD fires burnt and destroyed 21 grass-thatched huts at Arda Transau in Manicaland province early this week.
The unoccupied huts were part of hundreds of houses built by Marange Resources to accommodate villagers displaced by the mining company from the Chiadzwa diamond fields. Mutare district administrator Cosmas Chiringa confirmed the development yesterday.
“I was given a report yesterday [Wednesday] by Marange Resources people confirming the incident,” Chiringa said.
“These are huts which were not occupied at the moment. The main houses were not affected. We suspect that there was a fire started by some people preparing their fields.”
Chairman of the Arda Transau Relocation Trust Cephas GwayaGwaya said: “As representatives of the relocated people, we are so pained by what has happened in a case of a veld fire. The houses were not occupied, but for a long time, we have been begging the company to give people the houses because we are so crowded. Our families are big and the houses that we were given are not enough for us.”
In 2010, scores of Chiadzwa families were ordered off the mining area to Arda Transau to pave way for mining activities and each family was allocated a modest four-roomed house and a thatched kitchen.
However, some families have been complaining that the houses were not big enough.