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Mathema defends police stance on gold panners

by Staff reporter
01 Oct 2018 at 06:47hrs | Views
GOLD panners have themselves to blame for the deadly gold wars, the Minister of Home Affairs and Culture Heritage, Cain Mathema, said yesterday.

In an interview, Minister Mathema defended the police who have been accused of turning a blind eye to the anarchy that has characterised illegal gold panning areas because some of them are directly involved in the illicit trade.

Some people have been killed while others have been left with life threatening injuries during gold wars that have been rife in areas such as Esigodini, Filabusi and Inyathi.

Minister Mathema said artisanal miners have seemingly become a law unto themselves in areas where they conduct their gold panning activities.

Last Wednesday night, a prominent gold dealer Baron Dube allegedly shot and killed a rival gold panner in the mining town of Esigodini in Matabeleland South. The incident is part of the countless incidents that have rocked the area with similar stories being reported in other mining areas.

Minister Mathema said gold panners should shoulder the blame for their lawlessness as police cannot predict crimes yet to be committed.

"Where have police failed to do their job? A police officer can only attend to a scene when a crime has been committed. After people have attacked each other that is when the police go in. How will the police get involved before a crime has been committed?" he said.

Minister Mathema said it was unreasonable for people to be fighting over gold adding that aggrieved individuals should report their cases to the police.

"There is no need for people to be fighting each other over gold claims and everything that concerns gold. We don't want that. Let's have law and order, every citizen must abide by the law.

"The law enforcement agents, the police will do their job as well. But I don't understand why people are fighting each other over gold except for greed. Everybody who feels offended by a competitor must always go to the police," he said.

Minister Mathema said there is too much corruption in the country which is solely blamed on the police yet other people are nurturing it.

"If every citizen abides by the law and every company abides by the law, the police will do their bit as well and they should do their bit. But there is thievery, our borders are porous, we must stop that anarchy. Everyone, individuals, companies, colleges must participate in this lawful element. All of us must abide by the law," he said.

Minister Mathema said citizens should report any suspected cases of corruption as it is every citizen's duty to protect the country's resources.

Source - chronicle