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Family endures six years of fear after building house atop a disused mine

By Thupeyo Muleya

A Beitbridge family has finally found peace and relief after living for over six years fearing that their house built on a disused mine shaft would collapse.

Mr Justin Chimedza inspects the disused mine shaft that has started caving in (Pictures by Thupeyo Muleya)
Mr Justin Chimedza inspects the disused mine shaft that has started caving in (Pictures by Thupeyo Muleya)

In essence, the Majurus’ dream to own a house in the border town had become an endless nightmare since they discovered that their property was sitting on a mine shaft in 2014.

The couple, Farai and Eunice Majuru, acquired a residential stand from Beitbridge Municipality in 2007 and they completed building their property the following year.

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The family of eight has been living in fear since discovering a mine shaft underneath that used to be run by PUB copper mines in the early 1970s.

On several occasions, they had been backfilling the opening by following a luke-warm response from the local authority and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

At some point, the local authority re-allocated one stand owner, next to the Majurus due to the state of affairs.

According to Mr Majuru, the family is now relieved after the local authority moved in to address the problem last year.

“They have filled up the shaft and reworked our perimeter wall to ensure that the shaft doesn’t give in again,” he said.

His nephew, Mr Justin Chimedza said he once entered the disused mine to make his own assessment due to delays to attend to their plight by authorities.

“After waiting for the local authority to act for some time, I decided to get into the pit to make an assessment.

I went down for three metres and discovered three tunnels where one can walk upright. It is not clear how the former miners closed the mine,” he said.

He said the front elevation and the car park in the yard had been in suspension since 2014 and every year they feared the house would collapse during the rainy season.

“We are relieved that something has been done at last. It took the town council workers five months to seal the mine shaft and to rebuild the perimeter wall in front of the house,” said Mr Chimedza.

During a recent interview, Mrs Majuru said to avoid further damage or risks the couple had to park their vehicles at a neighbour’s house.

“We had to vigilantly monitor our children given the obtaining circumstances,” she said.

To add to their woes, the family stopped drinking water from a borehole they drilled near the mine shaft. Beitbridge town clerk, Mr Loud Ramakgapola said they had spent $591 573.63 on civil works at the Majurus’ house.

“Some of the civil works include removal of unsuitable materials, excavating to an approved level of 393.34m3 and we used $15 401.03

“We also did some backfilling and spreading of 590.71m3 at a cost of $70 703.39 and also reinstated the perimeter wall. The interlocking pavers is ongoing,” said Mr Ramakgapola.

He said the civil works were carried out as recommended by the ministry of mines and mining development.

Mr Ramakgapola said to avoid the recurrence of such issues, they will thoroughly inspect new housing development sites.

“There is going to be a thorough inspection during the process of coming out with a layout and involving all stakeholders including Ministry of Mines. The Department of Physical Planning does this but at times some departments and parastatals do not respond. In the future we will ensure their responses are solicited and provided,” he added. The Chronicle.