BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has deployed rangers to drive out poachers and illegal gold miners from Umzingwane Dam catchment area as they are causing siltation.
There is rampant and uncontrolled gold panning in most catchment areas around the country, affecting water bodies.
Bulawayo deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube said council was not accepting fines from gold panners upon arrest, as has been the case, but was handing them to the police to facilitate prosecution.
“We have currently deployed rangers to deal with poachers and illegal gold miners.
“We have currently engaged the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to ensure that these activities are immediately stopped,” said Mlandu.
“There are no fines, when we catch one, we simply hand them to the police and they arrest you.
“These activities have been affecting our dams, leading to siltation.”
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Bulawayo metropolitan provincial manager, Decent Ndlovu said they continued to follow up on illegal miners and poachers with the help of council and police.
“As EMA, we continue to follow up on poachers and illegal miners but unlike BCC and ZRP, we are unarmed, so what we do is that, when we see poachers, we alert the police because they are armed and can be able to deal with them,” said Ndlovu.
“When we see illegal miners from a company who do not have an EIA, we give them a ticket, but we are worried about the continuous land degradation because of illegal mining.”
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