Harare Metropolitan Province; Provincial Development Coordinator, Tafadzwa Muguti has threatened action against illegal sand poachers and quarry miners who are blamed for causing land degradation, injuries to people and siltation of water sources in Zimbabwe’s capital.
The illegal activities in Ruwa, Chitungwiza and Epworth has affected a total of about 445 hectares according to statistics.
Muguti said, “Anyone found mining sand and quarry illegally will be arrested, whilst their vehicles will be impounded.”
“All local authorities have been encouraged to charge hefty fines to all offenders.”
Illegal poachers justify their activities stating that it is their source of livelihood.
The miners say if employment opportunities are to arise they will leave the illegal profession.
Sand from the illegal miners, which is normally transported by night to avoid the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) agencies is going for around US$6 to US$8 per cubic metre.
Sand is used for the construction of houses and buildings in Harare.
EMA (EMA) Environmental Officer, Gilbert Mugunzva said that local authorities in Harare have to demarcate areas for the activity and rehabilitate the land afterwards.
The agencies have questioned the notion that it is the poor people who are illegally mining sand citing that the poachers own trucks which implies that they are not as poor as they say.