TWO illegal gold panners died after a shaft they were working in collapsed and buried them at a mine in West Nicholson.
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele confirmed the incident which occurred on Wednesday at Majoda panning site in West Nicholson at around 4AM.
He said Kenneth Mathuthu (22) and Prosper Mbedzi (age unknown) both from River Block area in Collen Bawn died on the spot.
“I can confirm that we recorded a sudden death case where two illegal gold panners died after a shaft they were working in collapsed. Kenneth Mathuthu and Prosper Mbedzi were working in a 12-metre-deep shaft at Majoda Panning Site in West Nicholson when the shaft collapsed and buried them underneath.
“The matter was reported to the police who attended the scene and the bodies of the two men were retrieved. They were taken to the Gwanda Provincial Hospital Mortuary,” he said.
Chief Insp Ndebele urged members of the public to desist from engaging in illegal panning activities as they were putting their lives in danger in addition to violating the law.
He said people that wanted to engage in mining activities had to formalise their operations and follow the correct procedures in order to acquire necessary paper work before operating.
“It’s sad that we continue to record a number of mine accidents as a result of llegal mining activities which are rampant in the province. If people want to engage in mining they should formalise their operations. By engaging in illegal mining they will not only be committing an offence but they will also be putting their lives at risk as they will be operating without necessary equipment and protective clothing.
“Some of these illegal miners operate in the early hours of the morning in order to evade police not knowing that they will be risking their lives,” he said>chaosafrica