By Dumisani Nyoni
ABOUT six gold miners in the Esigodini area are reportedly trapped underground after a mine they were working in collapsed following heavy rains that pounded the area on Tuesday this week, CITE has learnt.
Information gathered by the CITE, however, indicates that the mine owner, who is yet to be identified, is now disowning the miners to the chagrin of villagers and relatives of the victims.
“What baffles me is that the owner of that small scale mine is disowning the guys saying she was in the process of renewing the papers and had instructed everyone to vacate about a year ago, a claim which is making villagers very angry because according to them truckloads of ore from the mine was seen day and night getting the precious ore to the nearby stamp mill,” he said.
ZDAMWU boss said the information they gathered is that of the six trapped miners, four are from the same family or are closely related.
“It seems when the mishap happened, immediately tents that housed the workers were dismantled and machinery moved to an unknown place in order to conceal the evidence that mine was operational,” he said.
“When the CPU (Civil Protection Unit) team arrived together with the How Mine rescue team, the owner feigned to be seriously ill to the extent of not being able to hear or utter a word about the map of the mine and the expected number of people trapped as well as the depth of the shafts,” he said.
Chinhema said they might “start digging up soonest since we now have information about the shafts.”
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele referred all the questions to his boss, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi who could not be reached for comment.