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Gold panners invade Bulawayo suburbs

GOLD panners have invaded Bulawayo causing environmental degradation in two of its suburbs, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has said.

The illegal gold panners have caused environmental degradation in Queens Park East and Emhlangeni suburbs.

According to the latest full council minutes, Housing and Community Services director Dictor Khumalo on February 15 reported that there are rampant illegal gold panning activities taking place in some parts of the city. Several illegal panners were arrested.

“Joint and routine patrols were conducted and during these patrols, 18 illegal gold panners were apprehended and surrendered to Esigodini Police Station. A total of 61 hand tools were confiscated. These include four detector machines. Mitigation strategies are underway to curb the spread of these illegal activities (minerals and sand poaching) in Greater Bulawayo,” the minutes read.

“Most routine patrols were concentrated in the peri-urban where these sand excavators were a menace. During these patrols, a total of 25 tickets were issued to various offenders. To date 22 tickets have been paid for which amount to US$1 246,52 and 3 tickets are still outstanding with $1 275,28.”

The local authority said it had since intensified patrols in affected areas.

“On January 26, the city rangers had a joint operation with Queens Park Police to try and curb the illegal invasion of council land at Emhlangeni Wolly Dog Mine to be precise,” the minutes read.

BCC has also impounded 35 trucks for sand poaching.Council also revealed that it is facing challenges from firewood poachers due to load shedding.


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