Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance
(Murra) has written to Masvingo City Council threatening legal action if mining
activities on a hill which hosts the city’s main water storage tanks are not
stopped within seven days.
The residents’ organization claims the miners are
utilizing dangerous chemicals above Hillside Extension and Taget Kopje suburbs thereby
posing a serious risk to the city’s water reservoirs.
Through its lawyers Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal
Practitioners, Murra has demanded that all mining in the area be ceased.
“Some houses in Target Kopje now have cracks from
the explosions occasioned by the illegal mining and the continued digging will
lead to the collapse of some houses. If the illegal miners are not stopped, the
water reservoir tanks may end up bursting which will culminate in flooding and
destruction of structures.
“They are utilizing dangerous chemicals like cyanide,
mercury and explosives near water reservoirs tanks that store water supply for
the whole city of Masvingo and the use of dangerous chemicals is risky in that
it is only a matter of time before it contaminates the water meant for domestic
use by the residents, exposing the residents to a myriad of diseases which will
culminate in a catastrophe for the whole city,” the letter reads.
Murra argues that that if the ongoing mining
activities are not stopped, many lives would be lost in the eventual floods and
the whole city will go for a lengthy period without water supplies.
Although Masvingo City Council had not responded to
the ultimatum by the time of writing, it is understood the mining activities
happening in the area are not illegal as all requisite papers were acquired,
the city’s engineering department recommended to council that new applications to
exploit the hill be turned down, arguing that council was failing to
effectively monitor and hold to account those who are already mining there.