Madumabisa farmers cry foul over land pollution

Rutendo Mapfumo


 Farmers in Madumabisa are not happy with the pollution emanating from extractives from one of the leading coke producers in Hwange which has caused them to give up on farming.
The farmers are claiming that pollution from South Mining Private Limited has forced them to abandon farming because the soil is no longer productive.
Speaking during a meeting hosted by Hwange Women Coalition of Zimbabwe in Madumabisa recently, villagers said that the mine has polluted the land through coal dust and some gaseous emissions released during the mining activities.
“We have a serious challenge here. The mining operations have exposed our cattle as well as the land to coal dust. It’s been two years now and I have not been able to grow anything on my farm,” said Sebastian Tembo, a Madumabisa farmer.
Most farmers who are affected by South Mining activities are those with land adjacent to the coke plant.
The community in the resettlement farm is accusing the mining entity of drilling boreholes in farms without their consent as owners.
“We once wrote a petition to the company and to Hwange Rural District Council concerning this issue, but it is to no avail,” said Arabia Sibanda, Village Head from Madumabisa.
Hwange boasts of a vast range of natural resources such as lithium, tin and coal among others, but the local community says it has not fully enjoyed the benefits of these resources.
“When the company came to Madumabisa, we were hoping that we would co-exist with the miners but they have been giving us empty promises and not fulfilling what they promised during their public consultations.
“I just want them to compensate me by giving me some pipes for my field since they drilled a borehole on the other part of my field. After the drilling of boreholes in my field I have not managed to use my plough in my field fearing to damage their pipes,” said Gogo Dube also farmer from Madumabisa.
Despite the lucrative mining operations in the area, the people of Matebeleland North Province have largely remained poor. In Hwange, companies are carrying out large scale mining with little development activities for the local communities.
Efforts to get a comment from the South Mining Private Limited were fruitless as the management were in endless meetings. The management further refused to meet the villagers who had requested their attention but instead sent only two security guards who seemed not to know any operations of the mines.

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