- August 12, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
ILLEGAL gold panners continue to wreak havoc along the banks of Bulawayo’s major supply dams, targeting mostly decommissioned ones such as Upper Ncema Dam in Esigodini, and in the process threatening Bulawayo’s water supplies.
In June, nine illegal gold panners were arrested, bringing the total of arrests since January to 68.
Illegal gold panning activities are posing a serious threat to Bulawayo’s water supplies as the panners are even digging in the dams that have dried up, something that is likely to cause heavy siltation.
Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube recently said the illegal gold panning activities could affect the city’s water supplies for a prolonged period.
He said in the event that a pipe was to burst at the dam due to the activities of the gold panners, the city would go for close to a month without water.
The gold panning activities are rampant in Upper Ncema, Inyankuni and Umzingwane dams that reportedly have alluvial gold deposits.
In February, police in Matabeleland South arrested 51 illegal gold panners who were operating at Upper Ncema Dam in Esigodini.
According to the latest council minutes, illegal gold panners are mainly targeting decommissioned dams.
However, due to inadequate resources, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) rangers and police are struggling to effectively conduct routine patrols in the affected areas.
“Routine patrols were conducted by the rangers and the ZRP in Esigodini.
“The invasion of decommissioned dams seem to be on the upward trend. Most of the patrols are conducted on foot due to shortage of fuel and patrol vehicles,” read the report.
“A total of nine illegal gold panners were arrested during the month of June, bringing the total to 68 as from January 2020.”
Gold panning activities affect the city’s supply dams and the activities in and around the dams are loosening the soil, leading to heavy siltation_The Chronicle