Wednesday, 10 February 2021

EMA BARRED FROM ARMY BOSS' FARM

Workers at Subdivision 5 of Welcome Home Farm some 15km west of Beatrice Police camp have refused officials from the Environment Management Agency (EMA) permission to enter the farm and assess the environmental damage caused by cyanide which spilled recently killing 18 cattle.

The farm is owned by Brigadier General Joe Muzvidziwa. However, the authority has since shut down the ZRP-run Joice Gold Mine which the deadly chemical spilled from and fined the force RTGS$60 000. The 18 cattle are valued at US$27 000 according to sources who spoke to The Mirror.

EMA Mash East publicity and education officer Astas Mabwe told The Mirror that the Authority is yet to assess the extent of damage at the farm after Muzvidziwa’s workers refused the authority’s inspectors entry into the farm. The workers also refused to give the top commander’s contact details to EMA making it impossible for the Authority to carry out its duties.

Mabwe said it was critical for the EMA to get into the farm and see how the carcasses of the cattle were destroyed. EMA also needed to collect water samples from the farm for laboratory analysis said Mabwe in a telephone interview with The Mirror.

Brigadier General Muzvidziwa said he was not aware of EMA’s visit or how the carcasses were destroyed.

“We visited Joice Mine on Saturday and noted that the mine is located on a sloppy piece of land where surface runoff into neighbouring farms is frequent.

 “The mine’s tailing dam is on a low point where there is no safety trench to prevent overflow or cyanide leaching into surrounding farms. We fined the mine RTGS$60 000 and ordered them to get an engineer to redo their tailing dam and safety trench. “We are yet to assess the damage done in Muzvidziwa’s farm because we were denied entry by his employees and they could not give us his contact details,” said Mabwe. 

EMA toured the mine on Saturday, some two weeks after the incident. Mabwe said that they only got to know about the leak after The Mirror’s report last week.

The 18 cattle died after drinking water contaminated with cyanide on January 21, 2021. The cyanide had a 0.08% concentration and at least five litres spilled into the farm.

Mash East Police spokesperson Inspector Tendai Mwanza referred questions to national Police spokesperson assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi. Nyathi’s mobile was unavailable.

Muzvidziwa’s 41 cattle were driven to the paddocks at around 6am and a herd boy saw them drinking from pools near the mine and the beasts started dying immediately. Masvingo Mirror

 

 

 

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