LOWER GWELO: Armed with picks, shovels, some with simple hoes and carrier sacks, illegal gold panners have descended on a residential area at Insukamini growth point in Vungu district, Lower Gweru, digging in search for gold.
Where there are glitters of gold, the panners have
just shown no mercy to nature nor concerned to the development at a growth point which is slowly shaping into a town and with the blind eye and in response to the cries for the riches, are reaping mother earth, leaving both house foundations, and perimeter fence upside down.
A visit to the growth point yesterday depicted an area under siege.
Gold veins have since been discovered around the suburb and within residential areas triggering the gold rush.
The resultant levels of land degradation have left residents in quandary.
The residents say despite intermittent running battles with the police, the area’s riches have not deterred the gold panners from coming back.
“Only last Friday, over 40 panners were arrested, vehicles impounded as the police used canine dogs to round them but still, they are here in huge numbers. They are destroying our property, digging into our yards, the level of destruction is just worrying,” said Selipiwe Nyoni.
Records show that some of the arrested illegal panners are from as far as Insiza in Matabeleland South and Mount Darwin in Mashonaland Central
Jaspa Nkomo said the panners were so daring that no one can stop them from entering inside their houses.
“They are violent you can’t stop them. They have been evading police patrol and we are having sleepless nights here because they now conduct their activities during the night,” he said.
Vungu Rural District Council Chief Executive, Alex Magura said the discovery of alluvial gold at the growth point which was fast turning into a town is anti-developmental and worrying.
“The painful part of it is that they are not showing in any signs of remorse. They are destroying even parameter fences and other structures. What they are concerned about is extracting the rich ores and we are in a fix,” he said.