Children Drown In A Disused Mine Left By A Chinese Miner
3 August 2023
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Two children recently drowned at a disused mine pit at Mbalabala in Matabeleland South amid complaints by the family that the Chinese mining company Ming Chang mine owner only gave them US$100 compensation.

The accident happened on July 15 according to the mother of the children Anastancia Mutandirwa.

She accused the Mines and Mining Department and the Environmental Management Agency of neglecting the enforcement of the law to ensure that miners adhere to proper standards of mining in the area.

She said the pits are close to their residence at the mining area where the children’s father works.

Mutandirwa said while three children were playing, they fell into the pit and two drowned.

“We managed to rescue only one of them. Police were called and they retrieved the bodies and took them to Filabusi Hospital before they were taken to the United Bulawayo Hospital for postmortem,” she said.

The children have since been buried in Bulawayo and Mutandirwa said the Chinese did not fully show compassion on their loss of children.

She expressed concerns that police did not inform them on what they would do to the Chinese.

She also complained that nothing had been done to the Chinese for leaving pits open.

Matabeleland South Acting Provincial Mining director Khumbulani Mlangeni expressed ignorance about the issue.

“No report was made to the office in order to investigate and establish if the alleged miner has a bonafide title or not and take corrective action,” Mlangeni said.

Matabeleland South Acting Police spokesperson assistant Inspector Thandolwenkosi Moyo said he was not yet aware of the accident.

Matabeleland South EMA manager Decent Ndlovu confirmed the accident.

“We will go on the ground to investigate, that matter is really disturbing,” Ndlovu said.

Company’s Human Resources manager Clyne Nyamandwe was not available for comment.

Professional and General Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (PGMWUZ) Abraham Kavalanjila in a statement said the authorities were negligent by allowing the miner to mine close to where its workers stay.

Kavalanjila said Section 28 of SI 182 of 1995 ” subject to the authority of the Mine Manager, a Personnel Manager shall be responsible for the supervision and control of the employees and residence of the Mine township and procuring immediate treatment in all cases of sickness which come to this notice.

He said Section 29 (1) at every Mine where accommodation is provided, such accommodation shall be to the satisfaction of the Environmental Health Officer, (2) were it is proposed to erect premises a plan which shall indicate the specification set out in the fourth schedule shall be submitted for the approval of the Environmental Health Officer.

“So according to the above Statutory requirement, the Mine owner is at fault, the Ministry of Mines is at fault and EMA is at fault because they should have not been authorized mining near the premises of the residence,” he said.

“This contributed to the loss of two innocent minors, 9 years and 13 years old.” He said the amount given to the family by the Chinese was ridiculous.

“We call upon relevant authorities to take immediate action on this matter,” he said.