The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has expressed concern over continued reports of violent clashes in the artisanal mining sector in Matabeleland South Province amid revelations that some are motivated by tribal undertones.
On Monday the 8th of September, 28 year old Ndodana Ncube of Nyamandlovu was brutally murdered while five others were seriously injured at Vova Mine in Gwanda during violent clashes over gold claims.
While the increase in such incidents is a cause for concern, it is the ethnic dimension of the conflicts that has seen the NPRC descends on Gwanda yesterday to investigate the matter and proffer solutions.
Chairperson of the commission Retired Judge Selo Nare who identified the source of the conflict as based on control of resources between locals and fortunes seekers from other regions, recommended the formalisation of the mining sector.
“The challenge as we here it is the invasion of mining areas by people from as far as Gokwe and Kwekwe who come into areas that have been pegged by locals and start elbowing them out. I believe everyone should benefit from resources in Zimbabwe but we must do it in a polite way and proper way.
“It also worrying that certain remarks were said by arrival group of miners who visited that area which are tribal and very disturbing as especially at a time when we are trying to heal our nation,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance Church Convergence on Peace director Reverend Useni Sibanda concurred on the need to urgently deal with the unresolved issue of land and mining rights in the province adding the policy on devolution power will be the answer to the long standing problem.
“It is important to make local people not feel like other people are coming to take their local resources because I think that is an issue of conflict. But what is also important is formalising the artisanal miners, formalise the process of getting people who are involved in mining to have proper documentation. It also points to the issues of devolution which is central because it will be part of national healing because it’s saying to the people, how do you have access to your own resources,” he said.
The NPRC which also announced plans to launch its strategic plan in the coming week said they will be visiting communities in Matabeleland and Midlands to engage them on pre-post independence conflicts with a view to heal and reconcile the nation.
The meeting was also attended by the Provincial Minister of State for Matabeleland South Province Cde Abednico Ncube, representatives of the Human Rights Commission and members of the Joint Operations Command.