By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
SHOCK gripped Chinhoyi residents early Monday morning after a company contracted by council to rehabilitate roads detonated a volley of dynamites to clear rock outcrops, thereby damaging some nearby properties.
The successive dynamite blasts lasted for about 30 minutes causing extensive damage to house and precast walls.
The contractor, Tarcon Construction, wanted to remove large rock surfaces that were blocking a road in Brundish suburb.
The blasting was conducted around 4am without prior notice to stakeholders, some of whom had properties damaged.
The development could possibly open floodgates for class action against the local authority as affected property owners claim compensation.
Residents condemned the “unprofessional” conduct of the contractor for detonating explosives so close to properties, and without warning.
Shocked residents who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com described the event as “unfortunate.”
“The contractor did not give notice of the impending blasts they were going to carry out. Besides, the explosives caused damages to my house. Windows were shattered while cracks developed on the walls. Whoever is responsible must compensate me,” one resident Ethel Chingoma said.
Another resident, Joram Tinayo said: “I was asleep when I was jerked out of bed by a loud bang that sounded like a huge bomb. My family was scared to death, we glued ourselves to the walls expecting the worst.”
Brundish resident, Moleen Hwakwa, said she was traumatised by the dynamite blasts which also caused extensive damage to her precast wall.
Chinhoyi Municipality spokesperson, Tichaona Mlauzi said preliminary investigations suggest the contractor reneged on earlier plans to use chemicals to thaw the rocks before physical removal.
“Initial indications are that the contractor resorted to blasting using explosives after the chemical method failed to yield positive results. Besides, as council we were not notified of the changes and we were equally caught unawares by the early morning blasting,” said Mlauzi.
Council was still reportedly assessing the quantum of damages caused by the blasts.
Efforts to get comment from Tarcon Construction were unsuccessful by the time of publishing.