VILLAGERS in Pfungwe are up in arms with a gold mine that set up its milling plant at Dindi Mission School grounds.
More than 300 villagers have since petitioned the relevant authorities, saying the milling plant was also located at the community’s main water source.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
According to a petition dated March 20, in NewsDay’s possession, the villagers wrote to the local authority seeking clarification on why the plant was erected close to the school and water sources.
“In light of the above matter, we write to your esteemed office as the people of Pfungwe and Dindi in particular, seeking clarity from you on why we are having hammer mill operators being allocated a stand close to Muswa River, which is our domestic water source, Dindi Mission where our children receive education and the whole community accesses medical assistance as well as Makande Business Centre, where villagers access foodstuffs,” the petition read.
Pfungwe is one of Zanu PF’s strongholds, with reports saying the revolutionary party was scared of losing votes if the stamp mill issue was not resolved.
NewsDay is reliably informed that four ministers, among them Mines minister Winston Chitando, have since visited the area to address the villagers’ concerns.
Maramba-Pfungwe has no boarding school, with villagers pinning their hopes on the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe-run institution to provide one.
According to the petition, the mill has since invaded Dindi Mission School playgrounds.
“You also took land where our school grounds are located, jeopardising teaching and learning. The land allocated to the mill belongs to the high school and is meant for our boarding school. The noise is irritating, making learning difficult. Our sources of water will be polluted,” the petition read.
The villagers also revealed that they were never consulted when the plant was established. According to council papers, the company is called Hippocare Trading and owned by one Emmanuel Ndemera.
War veterans in the area have also written to Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe (UMP) Zvataida Rural District Council complaining over the same matter.
Addressing a Zanu PF provincial co-ordinating committee meeting in Marondera at the weekend, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Apollonia Munzverengi urged her colleagues in government to resolve the matter.
“We are aware of the situation in UMP, especially at Dindi and Chewore. We need to address that problem as soon as possible. We cannot afford to ignore the area which gives us so many votes. Some Cabinet ministers have since visited the area, we are in the process of resolving the issue. In Dindi, someone established a mill at the mission,” she said.
In a letter dated March 17 addressed to the Mines ministry, UMP chief executive Agri Kanganga urged government to consider relocating the mill as it was also erected along a wetland.
“The proposed project lies on a watershed, hence any mishap involving chemical leakages may cause untold harm to the local environment. We, therefore, suggest that the proponent relocates elsewhere where there are less potential environmental and social issues that may arise,” Kanganga wrote.