By Anna Chibamu
THE government is, through the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), working on recovering dozens of artisanal miners trapped underground in different mines dotted across the country.
Mines minister, Winston Chitando told journalists this week progress has been made in mobilising necessary equipment to retrieve the bodies in Esigodini, Matabeleland South, Chegutu, Mashonaland West, Bindura, Mashonaland Central where the artisanal miners, who are presumably dead, are still underground after the shafts they were working in collapsed.
“Retrieving of bodies of the miners is underway as I speak and the CPU has now managed to get the needed equipment to do the recoveries,” Chitando said.
Earlier, Chitando was scheduled to appear before the parliamentary portfolio committee on mines, but its chairperson Edmond Mkaratigwa cancelled the public hearing.
The minister was expected to give oral evidence on his ministry’s action plan regarding the recovery of the trapped miners.
The hearing was postponed to 11 January.
“As you can see members of the committee have been waiting patiently and because of delays and it is now afternoon, we cannot, therefore, proceed with the meeting. It has been cancelled and postponed to a new date – 11 January,” said Mkaratigwa.
“The business of retrieving the bodies of the miners who are presumably dead by now is an urgent issue that should not be set aside because we have postponed this meeting.”
The lawmaker added: “This will give the ministry ample time to run around in conjunction with the efforts that have already been initiated by this committee to set up some sub-committees specifically at Esigodini Mine and at Task Mine in Chegutu. Hon. (Farai) Taruvinga (Insiza South) has with the help of the sub-committees managed to mobilise excavation equipment to undertake the recovery process which should be a joint conceited effort.
“As we celebrate Christmas, let us also remember that we have amongst ourselves, dear ones who continue to be bereaved. It would be a good Christmas present if we could be seen on the ground doing tangible efforts to retrieve the bodies.”