In a development that smacks of disrespect for the dead, a mining company is set to execute its operations at a village graveyard in Umzingwane district, Matabeleland South Province.
Reports say Heywood Mining Company has pegged claims in graveyards, at a school and their farming land in Ntola Village.
The villagers now blame the traditional leaders of being complicit in the parceling out of their land.
“We are saddened by the fact that our Chief had a meeting at Cresta Churchill Hotel with the miner on Saturday last week. He informed us that he was sent by the miner to apologise on their behalf and that they wish to have a positive relationship with the villagers,”said a villager who spoke to one local publication on condition of anonymity.
“It raises eyebrows to learn that our Chief seems to be in agreement with the miner. He told us that the miner will continue mining despite our disapproval. We are the villagers who are affected, the matter was supposed to be discussed in our midst,” added the source.
According to Matabeleland South mining director, Khumbulani Mlangeni, his office received a report about the issue and there is a pending multi-stakeholder visit to the area.
On the other hand, Mzinyathini Chief Stanley Gwebu said after the community had started illegally mining for gold in the area it enticed the Heywood miner to seek permission to mine the area.
“I had a meeting with the traditional leaders in the community who disagreed with the miner to conduct activities at Ntola village,” he said.
Added Chief Gwebu:
“The miner had wished to engage the people, but bringing the two parties might be a grave mistake because they are not willing to compromise on the issue.” The mining company officials could not be reached for comment”.