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BCC, police operation nets 44 gold panners

by Staff reporter
11 Jun 2024 at 01:20hrs | Views
A joint operation by Bulawayo City Council rangers and police in the Umzingwane water catchment and Greater Bulawayo area has led to the arrest of 44 illegal gold panners and the collection of US$2,720.22 in environmental fines.

The council report from the parks section, presented by Housing and Community Services Director Dictor Khumalo, highlighted that these joint patrols focused on environmental degradation.

During April 22-23 alone, 16 gold panners were arrested and handed over to the police at Esigodini, bringing the total arrests from January 2024 to date to 44.

The rangers also seized 48 tools, including a water pump. In the western area, eight trucks were impounded for soil extraction and wood harvesting. During routine patrols, 57 tickets were issued, 26 of which were paid, totaling US$2,720.22, with 31 tickets still pending, amounting to US$29,523.21. Additionally, 29 scotchcarts and one wheelbarrow were confiscated, with the firewood disposed of at the Pumula Housing Office. From the sale of pit sand, 54 truckloads were recorded, generating US$540.

The council faced challenges such as a donkey menace in peri-urban areas and insufficient transport and workforce. Councillors raised concerns about non-functional parks in the city, proposing branding for identification and secure boundary fences. Khumalo noted that water shortages, as reclaimed water was being redirected to Barbourfields Stadium, affected park conditions.

Moreover, mining activities at Alice Farm in Umzingwane district, particularly the construction of a heap leach pad near Upper Ncema Dam, posed serious threats to human health, domestic animals, and wildlife due to potential cyanide contamination. The local authority recommended rejecting the construction proposal to protect the water body, environment, and community well-being, ensuring the region's long-term sustainability.

Source - southerneye