BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC), in conjunction with the police, the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) and the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority have since January this year arrested 112 illegal gold panners.
This was revealed in BCC’s latest minutes from deliberations on the environmental report on land degradation in Greater Bulawayo and Water Catchment areas.
Gold panners have become a menace in parts of Bulawayo and other surrounding areas rich in gold deposits.
“Routine patrols were conducted around water catchment areas. During these operations, seven illegal gold panners were arrested, bringing the total to 112 since January 2022,” the report read.
Council also reported that in Greater Bulawayo, a combined operation involving council, Ema and the police between May 23 and 27 nabbed mineral and sand poachers in the western areas and peri-urban areas.
“The targeted areas were Cowdray Park, New Luveve, Gwabalanda, Magwegwe North, Pumula North, Pumula East, Nkulumane, Upper and Lower Rangemore, Methodist village, Mazwi Nature Reserve and St Mary’s. During these operations, 10 trucks were impounded. This was the most successful joint operation ever conducted in the city,” the report read.
“A total of 87 tickets were issued with a sum of $743 966 realised and 13 tickets were still outstanding with a balance of $4 523 262. Thirty trucks were recorded at the official council pit sand site and a sum of $964 194 was realised. A total of 160 trucks had been recorded since January 2022.”
Council also noted that 31 truckloads were recorded at the two illegal pit sand sites and $341 348 was collected.