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, albeit dubiously.
Recently, 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.