By Judith Sibanda
A 31-year-old Hwange woman died on the spot on Thursday morning, after a tunnel collapsed on her while she was illegally extracting coke at a Hwange Colliery Limited Company (HCCL) dumpsite.
Police in Hwange has identified the deceased as Simelweyinkosi Dube of A110B Madumabisa.
Dube was reportedly in the company of her neighbour who was also found trapped by passersby and colliery workers at Gubha dumpsite.
The survivor’s name has not been released by police but is admitted to Hwange Colliery hospital.
According to HCCL Corporate Affairs manager Rugare Dhobbie, the two trespassed into the company’s waste dump site with the intention to steal the coke for resale on the black market.
“The two females from Number 2 illegal settlement A Section, were illegally extracting coke from the Colliery waste dump,” she said.
“The tunnel in which they were scavenging collapsed and there was a fall of ground which covered them. One was immediately rescued by a passerby and the other was retrieved with the help of Colliery Front End Loader (FEL).”
She said investigations into the matter were yet to be carried out.
“Full investigations will follow, but however let me highlight that the two women trespassed into mine premises to carry out illegal extraction of coke which they would have sold unlawfully to buyers,” she said.
Hwange residents said it was now common for residents to invade the company’s waste dumpsite area in search of coke residues that they collected for resale.
It was not clear what they intended to use the loot for, but some eyewitnesses said coke was now being sold in domestic households for cooking purposes.