An attempt to evict over 6 500 artisanal miners from a gold-rich mine in Chegutu ended with the death of a miner, two weeks after Chief Ngezi called on government to intervene before the tussle for the mine escalated beyond control.
Lovemore Feyani died after police used live ammunition to try and disperse youths who had converged to resist eviction from the mine presumably owned by a company called Breckridge Investments.
Police acting spokesperson Paul Nyathi could not readily comment on the matter, but witnesses raised alarm over why the police fired live ammunition into a crowd of unarmed civilians.
The artisanal miners’ lawyer Francis Katsande said the running battles between the mine owner and artisanal miners was occasioned by conflicting High Court orders.
“There are two orders,” Katsande said.
“There is one order that protects us – you are not moving until certain things happen – and there is another order which says move out of the claim, and we are saying the two are mutual self-effusive, they are contradictory. And they are from the same high court and we as the citizens are caught in between. We need to have equal protection under the law. We first approached the Constitutional court, they are now approaching the constitutional court to say never mind that application, we want to enforce the one that says get the out of the place and we are saying that is an outrageous application. We are saying to the Sheriff which order are you enforcing?”
DDYMC secretary general Hillary Runganga said the mine was acquired 45 years ago but has never none of the said company owners have embarked on mining activities.
“We have invested a lot of money, in each shaft we have invested more than $15 000 and now just to say vacate, it’s not possible,” Runganga said.
“It is shameful that while the matter is at Constitutional court, they just come and ambush us. What they did was illegal. It’s even more shameful that money is exchanging hands and (Zanu PF) party leaders, senior party officials, are being used to push out over 6 500 miners whose family are depending on their mining activities here.”
Efforts to get a comment from Breckridge Investments lawyer, Zwelibanzi Lunga hit a brick wall as his number was unreachable.
He has previously said the artisanal miners don’t have a tribute agreement with the mine owners and that they were operating illegally.