BY OBERT SIAMILANDU
AUTHORITIES at Globe and Phoenix Primary School in Kwekwe have expressed concern that its classroom blocks face collapse as gold panners were digging under the school.
Globe and Phoenix school head Isaac Bvupajena told Southern Eye that the miners were so daring that they are carrying out their illegal mining activities within the school yard at night.
“They have been threatening the school security guard and other employees at the school with death. As school authorities, we are worried about the illegal mining activities currently happening at the school,” Bvupajena said.
“We have alerted the responsible authorities about the situation, but there is no action being taken,” he added.
Currently, the illegal miners have pulled down part of the school’s security fence in order to gain access to the school yard. They have left deep open pits and tunnels underneath one of the classroom blocks.
The school administration has begun to reclaim the dangerous pits with sand in a desperate bid to protect pupils from falling into them.
No comment could be obtained from the police.
The school is not the only infrastructure in the country which is threatened by illegal gold panning activities.
Last year in Filabusi, about 80km south of Bulawayo, gold panners left open gullies all over the area. The illegal miners boasted that they will dig anywhere in the country as long as their metal detectors detected gold deposits, adding that they would even dig under people’s property.
In Silobela, Midlands province, the Roman Catholic Church-run Loreto Mission’s infrastructure is being destroyed by illegal gold miners who are digging large pits in search of the yellow metal.
Classroom blocks at the school face possible collapse, while people and livestock are also endangered.
The Midlands province and gold-rich areas such as Gwanda have also experienced machete wars between gold panners.