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Emergency Situation: ‘The ground beneath Kwekwe is now weak’

The government is exploring ways of dealing with the issue of Kwekwe town, in the Midlands province, where the ground underneath it has become weak due to illegal mining activities in disused mines, a senior official said on Thursday.

In March, one of the classrooms at Globe and Phoenix Primary School caved in, resulting in 18 pupils being injured.

The government has since found a new site to build a new school.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, permanent secretary Pfungwa Kunaka said the government will come up with a solution soon and is now handling the issue of Kwekwe town as an emergency.

“We know that because of mining activity, the ground beneath Kwekwe is now weak,” he said.

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“The March 2023 collapse drew our attention as the entire government. Kwekwe issue is being treated as an emergency situation. This matter is now at Cabinet level being addressed. On the outlook, it may appear like there is no progress,” he said.

Addressing the same committee, Michael Munodawafa the chief government mining engineer said the challenge lies in the failure by authorities to stem the increase in illegal mining.

Also addressing the same committee, Midlands mining engineer Tapererwa Paskwavaviri said a coordinated approach is required to monitor the conditions of the ground within the mining areas around Kwekwe.

“There is prevalence of sink halls in Kwekwe which resulted in the damage of roads and buildings.

“At the moment, if you go to the District Coordinator’s offices, a number of buildings have large cracks on the walls.

“The Kwekwe reservoir which is next to the Globe and Phoenix is in danger as we speak, and our fear is that if illegal mining continues around that area, the fear is that the water tank can collapse and that will result in a disaster.

“There is danger that the tunnels could be extending towards the CBD (Central Business District). We need to profile the risk associated with further mining towards the CBD.

There are several tunnels beneath the city of Kwekwe forming a network with those from Gaika Mine. However, city engineers have assured residents that buildings are safe. New Ziana