By Blessing Togarepi
I wish to thank Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) from Mashonaland Central Province following the arrest of the 16 machete wielding terrorists who were in the habit of unleashing serious violence that is affecting genuine small scale Miners and the ordinary people at large in the area.
The accused persons were part of a network of criminals who were causing serious incidents of violence and killings in the area. In an effort to find a solution to the issue I made efforts to engage the police through the Office of the Commissioner General in the past month and fortunately other stakeholders had also made similar efforts in engaging the police on the matter. We shall continue to engage the authorities to ensure that security is guaranteed for genuine Miners and the population in general.
In that regard as a solution to reduce the incidences of violence in small scale Mining areas, I, as a leader for Miners in the Province I have undertaken to find ways formalising the sector by among other things pegging new areas in Mazowe in consultation with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Ministry of Mines. The plan will involve the carrying out of an intensive Environmental Impact Assessment, planning of settlement and pegging of special grant 300 hectares by 3 mining claims to provide access for new beneficiaries to reduce violence and competition for few claims being availed under the Exclusive Prospecting Order (EPOs).
It is my assessment that the incidences of violence and crime in the sector are mainly fuelled by the scarcity that is being created under the current (EPOs) framework.
Finally I wish to extend my continued appreciation for the cooperation of all the stakeholders in our efforts to ensure the formalisation of the Artisanal and Small Scale sector in the country.
Blessing Togarepi is National Chairman Artisanal and Small Scale Miners Association (ASSA) and Former Youth Chairman of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation for Mashonaland Central Province