VILLAGERS in the Mgadla area of Matobo district want the owner of Good Hope Mine in Matobo evicted after his mine collapsed last Sunday burying a gold panner alive.
According to Mgadla village head Christopher Tshuma, the mine owner Todd Chitando was operating illegally as his permit does not cover Good Hope.
“Chitando is an illegal gold miner. His papers do not show that he has a mine at this place. His documents have expired and they show that at one time he was given permission to mine just 2km from Cyrene, but he decided to expand by a further 9km to Good Hope in Mgadla,” Tshuma said.
He said they were resettled in the area in 2000 and found Chitando operating at the mine, but he refused to leave when they demanded that he go. “When we came here in 2000, Chitando was an illegal miner and we told him to leave, but he refused. Now he has put the village in a terrible state,” Tshuma said.
A village elder Joe Maphosa said Chitando should leave the area before the villagers take matters into their own hands because a number of accidents had gone unreported at the mine in the recent past.
“Chitando must leave this place immediately and if he continues to resist we will take the law into our own hands,” Maphosa said.
“We told him to leave this place way back in 2001. Two weeks ago, he had a serious dispute with some villagers after a beast fell into his shaft and we resolved that he compensate the affected villager.”
Chitando told Southern Eye that he came to the area in 1993 prospecting for gold and the villagers have never accepted him in the area.
He said he only got a permit in 2001 after partnering with Afikin Sibanda.
“I came here in 1993, but l did not have mining documents until 2001 when l joined hands with Sibanda. When these people came to settle here, they never liked me. There have been huge misunderstandings, but I have resisted leaving because I got the place lawfully, so I won’t leave,” he added.