Atleast 50 feared dead in Battlefields mine flooding

HARARE – Zimbabwean authorities are expected to start retrieving trapped illegal gold miners on Friday but none are expected to have survived flooding in the shafts and the number of casualties could be about 50, state media reported.

The accident in Battlefields, 175 km (109 miles) west of Harare, has highlighted the safety issues in illegal gold miners, who last year contributed significantly to the record bullion output of 33 tonnes in the southern African nation.

The miners were trapped on Tuesday night when the shafts they were working in were flooded after a nearby dam burst. Initial reports put the number at 23 but state media indicate there could be more than double that.

Some of the shafts were 100 metres deep and rescue teams from nearby mines and the Civil Protection Unit were pumping water from shafts and tunnels before recovering the estimated 50 men, The Herald newspaper said.

It said the authorities did not expect to find survivors.

A spokesman for the Civil Protection Union, which is coordinating the rescue effort, had no immediate comment.

Eunica Zvitiki, a mother whose son was trapped in one of the pits said she did not think he would be found alive.

"From what I am seeing and the level of water I saw, there is little chance of that happening. I am preparing for the worst," she told The Herald.

Battlefields and surrounding areas are rich in gold deposits and popular with artisanal miners who use picks and shovels and generator-powered water pumps. The makeshift shafts and tunnels can easily collapse in the rainy season when the ground is soft.

At abandoned mines, the miners, known locally as "Makorokoza" or hustlers, usually sneak in at night using torches and can disappear into shafts and tunnels for more than two days.

They sell their gold to central bank subsidiary Fidelity Printers and Refiners or private buyers. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by Edmund Blair)


Gokwe-Kwekwe road accident kills 4

Four people died on the spot this morning when a commuter omnibus they were travelling in burst a rear tyre at Tiger Reef-Bridge at the 15 kilometre peg along Gokwe-Kwekwe road.

According to eyewitnesses, four people died on the spot including the conductor, while 13 who were injured were admitted at Kwekwe General Hospital.

The kombi had 17 people on board and the driver is among the injured.

An eyewitness Mr Gibson Rugube, who was travelling behind the commuter omnibus, says the kombi burst its rear tyre and rolled several times before landing on its roof.


Cotton price increased

TON farmers in Gokwe are smiling all the way to the bank with their crop being sold for 52 cents per kilogramme up from 49 cents. Addressing cotton farmers in Nyanje area in Gokwe South on Monday, the Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Mr Owen Ncube said the new cotton price was aimed at making cotton farming viable for the farmers.

“I’m glad to say that the cotton selling prize is at around 52 cents per kg up from 49cents per kg at Cottco. This is a welcome development for you farmers so that you get more money from the crop,” he said.

The minister said Government was also working on providing farmers with packaging bags, which are becoming a challenge.
“I know that you have been complaining because you have cotton packaging bags shortages. However, the Government is going to provide you with the bags so that you take your crop to Cottco,” said Mr Ncube.

In an interview one of the farmers in Nyanje Mr Providence Siyanyenzo said he was grateful that the Government had increased the selling prize and was also willing to provide them with packaging bags.
He said apart from the shortage of packaging bags the cotton selling process was going on well.

“We are happy that the Cottco is currently buying the product at 52 cents per kilogram after the Government increased the selling price for cotton. This year cotton production is expected to be higher than last year because Government provided us with inputs through the Presidential free inputs scheme. Now the Government has promised to give us bags so we are very grateful,” said Mr Siyanyenzo.

Following the rebound last season, output is expected to be significantly higher this year compared to 74 000 tonnes delivered last year, according to the Cotton Producers and Marketers Association (CPMA) secretary Mr Steward Mubonderi.
Zimbabwe’s cotton industry had virtually collapsed when production declined to 28 000 tonnes by 2015, the lowest in more than two decades after farmers abandoned the crop due to low producer prices

Mlalazi School former students plans to build classroom block

Mlalazi School in Gokwe  South is moving to the new site.The Mlalazi Old Students Association has

mlalazi school

File Photo; MLALAZI Primary School students

planned to build a classroom block at the  school’s new site.The plan was announced by a team which attended the school Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the school on Thursday.The association is seeking support from the parents so that they achieve their goal.

‘Takawirirana kuti tisimudze block remaclassroom.Ndihwo urongwa huripo tisingavimbisi rimwe basa kuseri  kweirori reblock, zvakare tisingarambi kuti kana mari yatendera tigona kuzoita basa kuseri kweiri”[We are working on the project to build a classroom block for now,but when funds are available we are looking foward to go for another project], read the statement to parents.

The school has been relocated due to erosion as it was built on the Sengwa river bank during the revolutionary struggle in the 1980s.Erosion has threatened the school structures.Mlalazi school serves 10 villages with some children travelling for more than 5km to attend school.So far there is no structure visible at the new site except for bricks and stones which where there for quite a long time.There is also need for a water borehole at the site.

The meeting was attended by the ward councillor Mr Mateta and Member of Parliament Mrs Mhangami who promised a tent donation for Grade 0s. Although the meeting went on well there was scenes of trying to politicise the meeting by some of the former executive committee members who could be heard touting political party names of which the parents pretended as they heard nothing.Elections were held which saw the former students and young parents being put in positions of authority in the school development committee(SDC).

The parents blessed the project by the former  students and pledged their support.The Former student are now on the ground to mkobilise the resources so that their dream may come true.They are also calling other school’s ex-studentds to join them.Organisations who are willing to donate towards this project are also welcome.

Chireya women feasts on dead relative’s body parts

THERE was drama in Ndangara Village under Chief Chireya in Gokwe, Midlands province when two women allegedly connived to eat body parts they had harvested from a body of their male adult relative at a funeral wake.

The incident occurred last week when the two women whose names could not be immediately established were accused of removing eyes, cheeks and private parts from their deceased relative’s body. Chief Chireya confirmed the incident saying he has since summoned the duo to his traditional court to answer to the allegations.

“I can confirm that we have summoned two women from Ndangara Village to the traditional court after they were accused of harvesting body parts from their relative’s body before eating them.

“It is alleged that the two women were sleeping in the kitchen hut where the body of their deceased relative was kept awaiting burial.

“They ordered fellow relatives to switch off the lights. It is alleged that the two women then removed eyes, cheek and private parts from their relative’s body.

“The matter came to light the following day during body viewing when other relatives discovered that there were some body parts that were missing,” he said.

Chief Chireya said the two women were then implicated since they were the ones who slept in the kitchen hut with the body.

“When I asked the two women they both accused one another of eating the body parts. I have since hired a traditional healer to help the family know what transpired and who exactly is a culprit between the two women,” he said.

In a video seen by Sunday News the two women are seen accusing each other of having played a part in the heinous act.



Ramaphosa accepts apology after being killed by Peter Ndoro

The seasoned news anchor will be back on our screens again on Monday after taking a bit of time to recharge his batteries.

SABC news anchor Peter Ndoro says he is humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement he received from members of the public, journalists and politicians after he mistakenly declared on national television earlier this month that President Cyril Ramaphosa had died in Zimbabwe.

He was meant to have referred to the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

Taking to Twitter on Friday morning, Ndoro thanked Ramaphosa for “graciously” accepting his apology. He said he would return to work on Monday.

“O”level results out

November 2017 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Ordinary Level results were released yesterday and will be ready for collection on Monday, with the examinations board indicating that English Language Paper 1 had better quality results compared to the November 2016 paper.

Zimsec said the pass rate had gone up by five percent. The increase is despite the nullification of English Language Paper 2 examination results by the High Court after it leaked.

Officially announcing the release of the results yesterday, Zimsec board chairman Professor Eddie Mwenje said: “English Language was graded on one paper as ruled by the High Court. The quality of work on the paper showed that the candidates who wrote the paper were of a better quality than those for 2016.”

Prof Mwenje said there was a slight decrease in the pass rate for last year compared to the year 2016.

“In the analysis, candidates are described in two parts, one being ‘school candidates’, the second being the ‘private candidates’. Private candidates are non-formal students who entered for this examination.

“The total number of candidates who sat for the November 2017 O Level examination was 332 473. This is 14.25 percent higher than the November 2016 entry.

“Total candidates who wrote five or more subjects were 189 684 and 49 982 obtained Grade C or better in five or more subjects, yielding a 26.35 percent pass rate. There is a slight decrease on the performance of year 2016 which was 27.92 percent,” he said.

Of the 187 606 school candidates, 162 920 wrote five subjects or more, with 46 755 passing five or more subjects with a Grade C or better. This translates to a pass rate of 28.69 percent compared to 29.96 percent in 2016.