Tuesday, 7 April 2020


POLICE in Gwanda District have dispersed macimbi (mopane worm) harvesters who had flocked to the area despite the prevailing 21-day lockdown.

Scores of people from different areas had flocked to the district and set up camps at various locations over the past two weeks in search of mopane worms which are now in season.

Their presence was in violation of the lockdown order that came into effect last week on Monday requiring people to stay home.

In an interview yesterday, Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele said they had managed to disperse most of the crowds that had gathered in the district.

He said they would continue to monitor the areas to ensure compliance.

“We received reports that people were now gathered in search of mopane worms at a time when the President has announced a 21-day lockdown. These people were even there during the time when large gatherings had been banned. We went there last week as a team comprising the police, local government, Ministry of Health and Gwanda RDC,” he said.

“We engaged these people and told them to disperse and they complied. When we left most of them had gone and there were only a few left who were looking for transport to take them back to their homes. So far, we haven’t received another report but we will continue to monitor to ensure that we don’t have people gathering to harvest mopane worms for any other reason as that is against the law.”

Chief Insp Ndebele said they had also engaged plot holders to ensure that they do not entertain people intending to harvest macimbi as most of them had set up camps at their properties.

He said the majority of the people that had camped were from areas in Masvingo province. He said they had set their camps in different locations from Colleen Bawn Tollgate, West Nicholson right up to Makhado.

Gwanda District Development Coordinator, Ms Kiliboni Ndou said they went to the camps as the District Civil Protection Unit response team following reports from community members.

She said community members were concerned that the mopane worm harvesters could cause the spread of Covid-19 as they were in transit and were constantly in contact with a number of people.

Zanu-PF Matabeleland South provincial commissar, Cde Japhet Dube is one of the community members who raised concern as some of the mopane worm harvesters had set a camp on his farm.

“We are concerned as people from Gwanda as people coming from other districts and provinces have invaded our area and they have set up camps in search of mopane worms. Some of them have invaded my farm. With the prevailing Covid-19 we fear that having these people gathered and flocking the district will endanger us so could relevant authorities do something quickly,” he said.

During this time of the year scores of people from various districts flock to Gwanda and surrounding districts in search of mopane worms for sale.
President Mnangagwa recently announced a 21-day lockdown which is in its second week. During the period people have been ordered to remain in their homes and shops that do not sell essentials have been ordered to close. Chronicle


Post a comment