Story by Tafara Chikumira, Midlands Bureau Chief
Sand poachers are wreaking havoc at a farm owned by the City of Gweru located just outside the central business district, amid fears that the destruction might get to the city’s aerodrome.
The sand poachers, who used to operate under the cover of darkness, have become so daring to the extent of performing their illegal activities in broad day light destroying thousands of acres of land adjacent to the Gweru aerodrome.
Farmers have not been spared as there are no clear land reclamation efforts to protect livestock.
“These people are doing whatever they want to the farm. Our greatest fear is that our cattle might fell in the ditches. We have experienced several such cases. We also fear that the pastures are being destroyed. We appeal to authorities to do enough in dealing with this menace,” noted an angry farmer.
“We have devised a new way of preserving our cattle through herding them every day to prevent them from falling in these pits. These guys are just but everywhere and nothing much is being done to deal with the problem. It is about time this practice is put to an end,” said another.
The situation has also degenerated into a cat and mouse game between sand poachers and law enforcement agents.
“Apart from the aerodrome we now fear that Ngamo dam is already having problems of siltation,” said Environmental Management Agency Midlands Provincial Spokesperson Mr Oswell Ndlovu.
“This a major source of worry to us as an authority. We are trying everything in our powers together with the law enforcement agents but the problem still continues. We will be increasing our visibility in problematic areas so that we nip the problem in the bug,” he added.
The sprouting of new suburbs like Tatenda Park and Hertfordshire seem to have triggered the upsurge of sand poaching in the City.