Thursday 16 April 2020


Insiza residents have appealed for full enforcement of the 21-day lockdown in the district following a mopane worm harvest rush and an increase in illegal gold panning activities in the area.

Godlwayo Community Development Trust (GCDT) director Nkululeko Tshuma yesterday told Southern Eye that people from various provinces were flocking to Insiza district to harvest mopane worms (amacimbi) and to engage in gold panning, flouting lockdown regulations.

Tshuma said there was risk of a coronavirus outbreak in the district since social distancing and general hygiene measures were not observed. 

“We have some challenges here regarding COVID-19 as there is serious non-compliance with the lockdown and social distancing. People are flocking to our areas in search of amacimbi and gold. There is a gold rush in one area within our district… there are fears of a COVID-19 outbreak as there are so many people in those areas within our district,” Tshuma said.

He said there was a huge influx of people in ward 6 at Jason Ziyaphapha and ward 3 at Nyamime where mopane worms were being harvested, while in ward 9 at Bhinyapi Mine illegal mining activities were taking place.

“We call on authorities to descend on the areas and enforce the lockdown before the COVID-19 breaks out,” Tshuma said.

Insiza Rural District Council chief executive officer Fedris Manhombe referred this paper to the district development co-ordinator Zacharia Jusa.

Jusa, however, said he was in a meeting. A social worker in Filabusi Sibongile Khumalo said hunger was stalking villagers, hence many had defied the lockdown by going to harvest amacimbi or pan for gold.

“Mopane worms are in abundance in Filabusi and people from as far as Mberengwa are thronging the district to harvest the worms. Due to hunger, lack of employment and food provision by government, people are harvesting amacimbi in their numbers. When I asked some of them how they maintain social distance they told me that each person picked the worms from his/her own tree,” Khumalo said. 

However, Filabusi Chief Ndube, born Nonhlanhla Sibanda recently said she was making efforts to increase awareness to her subjects about the coronavirus and villagers were adopting precautionary measures to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

“Mines have also closed down operations to heed the lockdown order, but I am getting reports that gold panners are still working from their panning areas and I have given instructions that they must be warned to stop their activities forthwith.” Newsday


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