Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
President Mnangagwa yesterday condemned violence and lawlessness among artisanal miners, saying perpetrators of mining-related crimes will face the full wrath of the law. There have been numerous reports of violence among artisanal miners who invade mining claims while attacking competitors with machetes.
Some have since been nicknamed “Mashurugwi” or “Vemabhemba” as reports of violent clashes over the control of mining claims continue to be reported across the country.
President Mnangagwa who was addressing delegates attending the inaugural Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Conference hosted by the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) in Gweru said such violent clashes should stop forthwith.
“We have heard through the media about the lawlessness from among artisanal miners, some invading other people’s mines while armed with machetes. The president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation has (Ms Henriata Rushawaya) has, however, distanced the artisanal miners from these crimes saying they were not the ones involved in such clashes. She said these were the works of some rogue elements bent on tarnishing the artisanal miners’ name.
“We have said we don’t want this, anyone found in possession of these dangerous weapons should be arrested and jailed,” said President Mnangagwa.
The President said Government was prepared to give artisanal miners financial support if they were organised.
“We have mobilised $20 million which is meant to empower artisanal and small-scale miners, but you need to organise yourselves into groups,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Government was in the process of identifying idle mining claims owned by big companies.
He said such mining claims will be redistributed to small-scale miners for production.
“We introduced a use it or lose it policy. Under this policy Government is repossessing mining claims that are owned by big companies, but were not being utilised.
“We urge the Zimbabwe Miners Federation to send such mining claims to the responsible ministry if they have them in their books,” he said.