By Anna Chibamu
FIVE artisanal miners reported trapped in a Chegutu mine shaft since Tuesday last week are members of the same family.
The artisanal miners who include a father, his two children and two grandchildren are still underground at Task Mine Syndicate in Chegutu as rescuers have not made any headway due to continued slackening of the ground.
Constantino Dzinoreva, Crynos Nyamukanga (ages not given), Munashe Nyamukanga (17), Shingai Gwatidzo (20) and a fifth miner only identified as Charles, are believed to be still alive and rescue efforts are continuing.
The teenager had reportedly taken up the hazardous occupation to raise some school fees.
MDC Alliance Senator Violet Moeketsi on Thursday took the matter to the Senate President Mabel Chinomona questioning the legality of the mine shaft.
“Mr. President, in Mashonaland West, we have encountered a problem where a family got trapped in a mine; a father, his two children and two grandchildren. There are five people trapped in this mine shaft.
“I would like to ask if this mine shaft is documented at law or it is one of those shafts being used by illegal artisanal miners.
“As I speak, these people are still trapped in the mine. The rescue team which has been assigned to assist the trapped family are failing to do so as the mine shaft continues to fall inside the moment they reach where the trapped miners are located,” said Moeketsi.
In response, Senate president Chinomona said, “this is a very specific question which requires intricate knowledge about the issue of the mine you are talking about; the papers, the circumstances and so on.”
He asked the legislator to put his question in writing.
According to a local publication, there was still no breakthrough on day seven of the miners’ ordeal with relatives and friends increasingly getting worried over the fate of the five.
The mines ministry is said to have scaled up rescue efforts with timbering and the erection of supporting structures with Chegutu district development co-ordinator and Civil Protection Unit head, Tariro Tomu confirming efforts had intensified to rescue the five.
“While we work on rescuing the trapped workers, people should use social media wisely as we are seeing speculative messages suggesting that the trapped workers are dead. People should let officials do their work,” said Tomu.