- October 7, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Civil Protection Unit (CPU) and body which falls under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has not stopped the rescue mission at Task Mining Syndicate as has earlier alluded but awaits cabinet decision on the way forward, a Ministry official has said.
Speaking to Mining Zimbabwe, Ministry of Mines Engineer Michael Munodawafa said that the Ministry has no power to stop rescue missions when an accident has been clarified as a disaster. The power lies in the hands of the CPU who are again given the go-ahead to undertake such decisions by the Cabinet.
Munodawafa said the Ministry sent an internal advisory letter addressed to the Chegutu District Administrator and not to the owners of the mine.
“If there is a disaster the Ministry has no power to shut down mining operations. The letter was addressed to the DA and not the mine owners, the case will be addressed by the cabinet soon.”
Munodawafa said that the Ministry failed to undertake rescue operations on time because Task Mine was not properly planned. Shafts were placed all over the place an event that could have also endangered the rescue team. He said measures are underway to map a way forward on how best operations can be taken.
“There are no plans in Chegutu, not even a single plan…we have to understand where you are going before we rescue, we had to focus also on the safety of the rescuers.” Engineer Munodawafa said.
Once Cabinet confirms the abandonment of the search mission, all access points into the shaft will be sealed off, making the shaft in effect a grave for (Task Five) Constantino Dzinoreva (47), Charles Mutume (31), Crynos Nyamukanga (44) Shingai Gwatidzo (20) and a minor Munashe Christian (17).
A letter which was written by the Chegutu District Development Coordinator, Tariro Tomu to Task Mining Syndicate management suggested that rescue operations were proven to be unsuccessful therefore should be stopped with immediate effect.
“A technical report from the Ministry of Mines has shown that operations are proving to be unsuccessful because of safety challenges. There is continuous fall of ground within the collapsed zone,” reads the letter in part.
The letter also stated that the Ministry indicated that there is no escape route in case of emergency and the plan exposed workers to great risk when operating.
“There is no second escape route in case of emergency and the plan of installing a bulkhead and allowing people to work below it is a risky operation as there is a high risk of it falling thereby exposing the workers to great danger if trapped,” reads the letter.
The letter by the DA to the Mine owners also indicated that rescue operations and retrieval of the bodies should be stopped with immediate effect.