Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Kwekwe school collapses due to underground mining, disaster looming

A primary school classroom in Kwekwe collapsed into a mine shaft due to improper underground mining activities allegedly being carried out by powerful politicians.

Illegal miners have been digging under  Globe and Phoenix Primary School where there are underground tunnels left behind by the Germans who once worked at the now disused mine.

Due to ignorance, they destroyed pillars and supporting infrastructure making Kwekwe and Kadoma ticking time bomb environments.

A video has since circulated showing a classroom that had sunk into the mine. Reports state that more than 14 students were injured and rushed to the hospital.

In an interview with Nehanda Radio, Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) director Farai Maguwu said politicians are behind the illegal mining activities taking place in Kwekwe and Kadoma.

The environmental expert and activist further stated artisanal miners orchestrating illegal underground digging were also being sent by the same politicians.

He said that the situation is deteriorating and soon it will cause a massive disaster in Kwekwe and Kadoma.

“The Kwekwe incident was long coming. We anticipated it. A lot of people have raised alarm about the continuous mining in that town and the use of dynamites underground,” he said.

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“Now we have got a lot of companies that have been taken over by local politicians who know nothing about mining. They are just fortune seekers and they are using dangerous methods to mine.

“They don’t even care about the consequences of their operation, for example blasting when their structures are on top. They are knocking down pillars.

“They don’t observe mining engineering rules. They are just going for broke.”

Maguwu added: “Recently, I passed through Kadoma. The town is also another area which has a disaster waiting. I passed through Battlegrounds Police Station.

“The officers there were actually saying, ‘this police station must be relocated because the buildings are cracking. There is a heavy shaking because of the blasting taking place underground.”

To resolve this issue, Maguwu recommended that the government set up a team of engineers to assess the situation and come up with a strategy.

He said that the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) needed to be allowed to do its job properly without interference.

“Now what needs to be done; the first thing is for the government to realise that there is a potential massive disaster that is waiting to happen in the Kwekwe Kadoma region.

“Secondly, they need to allow EMA to do its job. And also engage mining engineers to really go underground and assess the operations that are still happening there and the strength of the ground, whether it is still able to sustain those structures.

“Most of the people who are operating in that area, number one, are politicians masquerading as small scale miners.

“Secondly, they are artisanal miners underground who are not skilled in operating underground. They are just used to operating pits here and there.

“That combination of politicians masquerading as miners and artisanal miners operating in unfamiliar territories is leading us to this situation where a massive disaster is going to happen,” Maguwu told Nehanda Radio.