Sand poachers, panners give BCC headaches

Source: Sand poachers, panners give BCC headaches – The Southern Eye

Bulawayo municipal police and rangers are losing the fight against illegal miners and sand poachers, latest council minutes indicate.

There is rampant and uncontrolled gold panning in the city’s water catchment areas such as Umzingwane as well as sand poaching in various suburbs.

The local authority, with support from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), has been conducting raids on the poachers and panners but they keep coming back causing “extensive damage” to the environment and water sources according to the council minutes.

 “Joint operations with the Environment Management Agency (EMA) and police are being done without significant success. More strategies are being employed to deal with this problem,” read the minutes in part.

Council, however, said it had scored some successes, arresting some of the suspects and impounding their tools.

“Six sand poachers’ trucks were impounded,” the council said. “We also impounded three scotch carts for wood poachers, four  sand poaching wheel burrows, 40 head of cattle, six calves, 26 donkeys, five goats and one pig were impounded.”

The council said extended patrols were conducted within Greater Bulawayo where new invasions were reported at Emhlangeni.