Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Midlands Provincial Joint Operations Command (JOC) has been tasked with effectively dealing with the “maShurugwi” menace in order to bring sanity to artisanal mining in the province.
In an interview yesterday, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Larry Mavima, said machete wars between artisanal miners need to be contained and JOC has been mandated to work towards that goal.
The machete-wielding illegal gold miners, Minister Mavima said, have done much damage in the Midlands province and seem unstoppable.
“The Government is not taking lightly the maShurugwi menace and the provincial JOC has been tasked with dealing with these machete-wielding gold miners ruthlessly so that we bring to an end unnecessary loss of lives and damage to property these people bring wherever they go. So JOC has met and is working on ways and means of dealing with them and it will be ruthless,” he said.
The Minister said Government has also been working with churches and traditional leaders in a bid to bring sanity between artisanal miners. “We are confident of putting a stop to this menace because we are also working with the church and traditional leaders to address this menace. It is like a cancer which needs to be nipped in the bud once and for all,” said Min Mavima.
He said machetes have been used to kill many people as they unleash a reign of terror in the Midlands province in the fight for control of gold claims and ore.
“It has always been Government position that violence has no place in this country and that is why we are working with JOC, churches and traditional leaders to restore sanity, peace, unity and tranquility in the province and if we start here, it will cascade to all other provinces,” the Minister said.
He said maShurugwi have no role to play in the development of the country under the New Dispensation.
“Basically, these people are renegades and have no role to play in the New Dispensation. The new Government is pre-occupied with peace, unity and development. This New Dispensation preaches peace, unity and tranquility and doesn’t tolerate any form of violence in this lucrative industry. As the Provincial Minister as I alluded to earlier, we have tasked JOC to deal with them ruthlessly,” Min Mavima said.
Officially opening the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation Annual General Meeting in Gweru recently, President Mnangagwa spoke strongly against violence in the artisanal mining sector.