BY SILISIWE MABALEKA
NTOLA villagers in Umzingwane, Matabeleland South are furious after gold mining company, Heywood Mining pegged claims in graveyards, at a school and their farming land.
Villagers are accusing traditional leaders of being complicit in the parcelling out of mining claims on their land to the miner.
One village who requested anonymity said: “We are saddened by the fact that our Chief had a meeting at Cresta Churchill Hotel with the miner on Saturday last week. He informed us that he was sent by the miner to apologise on their behalf and that they wish to have a positive relationship with the villagers.
“It raises eyebrows to learn that our Chief seems to be in agreement with the miner. He told us that the miner will continue mining despite our disapproval. We are the villagers who are affected, the matter was supposed to be discussed in our midst.”
Matabeleland South mining director, Khumbulani Mlangeni confirmed the misunderstandings between the villagers and miner.
“The issue was reported and there is a pending multi-stakeholder visit,” Mlangeni said.
Mzinyathini Chief Stanley Gwebu said after the community had started illegally mining for gold in the area it enticed the Heywood miner to seek permission to mine the area.
“I had a meeting with the traditional leaders in the community who disagreed with the miner to conduct activities at Ntola village,” Gwebu said.
“The miner had wished to engage the people, but bringing the two parties might be a grave mistake because they are not willing to compromise on the issue.” The mining company officials could not be reached for comment.
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