Residents of Globe and Phoenix compound in Kwekwe had a lucky escape after a family’s home partially collapsed due to illegal mining activity underneath the compound.
According to a family spokesperson, Ms. Kimberly Rusike, the kitchen and lounge areas of the house collapsed after a blast from illegal miners on Thursday night. The floors caved in and a large opening appeared underneath the house, rendering it unsafe to live in.
Over 200 people live in the compound and there are fears that other homes could suffer the same fate due to damage caused by underground illegal mining. Resident Aaron Madiro said they hear blasts from illegal miners almost daily and worry the whole compound may become structurally unsound over time.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima and the Civil Protection Unit inspected the damage and condemned the illegal mining in the area. The minister said the situation in Kwekwe was worrisome and that illegal mining posed a threat to the entire town.
Earlier this year, 16 schoolchildren at Globe and Phoenix Primary School were injured when a classroom collapsed, likely due to underground mining. The school was subsequently closed. A government complex in the compound was also condemned due to concerns about structural integrity.
Minister Mavima warned that if illegal mining continued in the area, authorities may have no option but to shut down formal mines. The future for residents remains uncertain until a full report on the mining impacts is completed.