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Bulawayo councillors reject bid to grant town clerk right to mine gold

by Staff reporter
09 Jun 2017 at 08:37hrs | Views
BULAWAYO councillors have vetoed management's recommendation to grant the newly appointed town clerk the right to mine gold on the local authority's Aisleby Farm.

According to the latest council report, Mr Christopher Dube wanted to mine gold at the farm, on the outskirts of Bulawayo, at a site measuring 500 metres by 200 metres.

In his application, the town clerk says he had already surveyed the land and results show rich gold deposits.

"I am applying for a no objection or authority to carry out mining activities at the above farm. I have already done a miner survey which indicates that the area is rich in the gold deposits. The site is 500m by 200m and it is a requirement from the Ministry of Mines to get authority from Council. I am also employed by the Council as Town Clerk," read his application.

The engineering services department, in response to the application, said the farm is zoned residential in terms of the operative Bulawayo Master plan but the department further gave the green light to the application saying there will be no objections to mining provided it will not negatively affect agricultural activities which include cattle ranching.

However, councillors at a full council meeting turned down the application saying the mining should benefit the city and not an individual.

The councillors were sceptical that this would attract the wrath of the residents and Government which last year instituted an investigation after some councillors were fingered in land and property grab allegations.

Ward 26 councillor, Norman Hlabani, said the application was a "dangerous one" and council must tread carefully.

"This is dangerous. So many people applied for the gold claim but we turned them down. The gold mine is our cash cow and that money belongs to the people. We had earlier resolved that we would partner with a company to mine there because that gold is for Bulawayo. Therefore, I say the application is a non-starter," said Clr Hlabani.

Ward 22 councillor, Rodney Jele, concurred with Clr Hlabani saying the gold claim should be used to increase the city's revenue base.

Ward 1 councillor Mlandu Ncube said following last year's corruption allegations it was high time the local authority did things by the book.

"We respect the office of our very learned town clerk and without mentioning names, we must do things the right way. Mr Mayor, we don't want a repeat of last year when you had sleepless nights over allegations levelled against some of the councillors," said Clr Ncube.

Clr Silas Chigora said the application should be opened to everyone to avoid a backlash from residents.

Other councillors who aired their views in the debate were Lot Siziba, Clyton Zana, Macdonald Chunga and Ephraim Ncube.

They resolved to decline the application.

In 2010, The Chronicle reported that illegal panners were breaking into the farm at night to steal gold. They reportedly left deep trenches that put livestock at the farm at risk. In 2012, councillors resolved that the city should find a partner to extract gold at Aisleby and two other council farms.

Councillors reportedly agreed that the city should venture into mining and take advantage of the gold on its properties, instead of letting gold panners "steal it."

According to a report from the finance and development committee at the time, the local authority was assessing gold deposits at Aisleby Farm, Goodhope Farm and Farm "A" near Cement Siding.

Source - chronicle