BULAWAYO youths linked to the militant Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) on Friday stopped a mining syndicate from prospecting for gold in the Matobo Hills World Heritage Site.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
In September, government bowed to pressure from Domboshaba villagers in Matobo district, Matabeleland South, and stopped a mining syndicate from conducting mining operations within the heritage site.
This was after miners calling themselves Mazinahue Syndicate wanted to engage in mining activities armed with a fake prospecting licence from the Mines and Mining Development ministry to prospect for gold, but they were stopped by locals.
In the latest incident, the mining syndicate returned to resume operations but was overpowered by locals who ganged up with MRP youths to stop them.
“It appears the measure (evict ion of the syndicate in September) was just temporary, meant to blindfold MRP and Matobo community,” the MRP president Mqondisi Moyo said.
“This is confirmed by the return of the invaders two weeks ago, and this time bringing with them fake letters from the Mines ministry and Matobo Rural District Council.
“However, the MRP youths could not brook the nonsense, but ordered them to pack all their equipment and other stuff into the MRP truck… this was a victory worth celebrating by ululations.”
Matobo District Development Co-ordinator Obey Chaputsira could not be reached for comment on his mobile phone.
In September, Chaputsira said no mining would take place at the heritage site.
He promised villagers that any such activity would be stopped.
Land disputes involving villagers and mining syndicates are on the increase in Matabeleland South, where there are gold mining deposits.
Reports indicate that mining syndicates work in cahoots with Mines and Lands and Resettlement ministry officials to evict villagers to ensure easy access to gold deposits.