By Nyasha N. Mukapiko
More than 40 artisanal miners are feared dead following the flooding of an abandoned mine in Battlefields near Kadoma on Wednesday. The flooding was caused by heavy rains which led to the collapse of a dam wall.
On Thursday, during the question and answer session in the Senate, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi blamed the artisanal miners for being ignorant saying their challenge was that even when they are told that there is a danger they continue to mine in those mines.
“For example Eldorado Mine in Chinhoyi, they go there at night despite the fact that the mine has been condemned. They also need awareness that if you go underground in such mines it is not safe. But, there is something that is being done about it,” he said.
Minister Ziyambi was responding to a question which had been raised by Senator Keresenzi Chabuka who wanted to know government policy with regards to protection of artisanal miners.
Ziyambi went on further to inform Senators that government was waiting for the passage of the Mines and Minerals Bill which was crucial in regulating the operations of small scale miners.
On social media, citizens criticised the government for casting a blind eye on the Battlefields mine disaster with many suggesting that the incident qualified to be declared a national disaster.
According to Minister Ziyambi, the responsible authorities yesterday were still trying to drain the water to check if
there were any survivors.
I’m sorry but Zimbabwe IS A JOKE. Anything up to 38 decent people presumed dead underground, and it’s literally other artisanal miners leading rescue and recovery effort. You’ve a President eating lobster with foreign diplomats! Entire resources of state MUST BE in Battlefields pic.twitter.com/TzZrqhKWGY
— Mduduzi Mathuthu (@Mathuthu) February 14, 2019
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa also expressed concern over the situation adding his prayers are with the affected families.
Extremely concerned …the situation regarding casualties in the Battlefields mine disaster near Kadoma which could rise from the initial 23 reported yesterday is very disturbing. Our prayers are with all the affected and their families.
— nelson chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) February 15, 2019
President Mnangagwa had not posted anything on his social media pages with regards to the disaster.