Illegal Gold Rush Fuels Violent Crimes

Gwanda villagers believe the increase in violent crimes is perpetrated by illegal gold miners.


BY VUSINDLU MAPHOSA | @The_CBNews | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | JULY 14, 2022

In Gwanda, illegal gold mining is not only driving the informal economy — it is also fueling violent crimes and other ills.


GWANDA (The Citizen Bulletin) — Gwanda is endowed with vast gold deposits, attracting artisanal and small-scale miners but after failing to get the yellow metal, some illegal miners quickly turn into criminals.

A local resident, Melusi Nkiwane says an increase in criminal activities in the town is linked to illegal gold miners.

“We are not safe these days,” Nkiwane says.

“There are a number of incidents in which these gangs have attacked some residents and robbed them of their belongings.”

Locals say they are witnessing an increase in robbers believed to be perpetrated by illegal gold miners.


“As we speak a few days ago they attacked one Phakama resident and robbed him of cash amounting to R2500. What we know is that these gangs are not composed of locals, but people from outside Gwanda.”
Melusi Nkiwane, a local resident


To counter the criminals, locals have formed vigilante neighbourhood watch committees.

The neighbourhood watch committees scored successes recently after tracking down two armed robbery suspects leading to their arrest.


On July 6, police in Gwanda gunned down four armed robbers who had robbed a woman of her vehicle.


Gwanda Residents’ Association member, Siduduzile Masilela says the neighbourhood watch committees are necessary to assist the overstretched police force.

Neighbourhood watch committees help reduce crime in communities. Image by Unsplash


“These people (illegal miners) come thinking that there is a lot of gold and when they arrive, they discover that it's the opposite and start engaging in criminal activities for survival.”
Siduduzile Masilela


The central government put about 95% of mining land in Matabeleland South under Exclusive Prospective Orders (EPOs), a development causing conflict between artisanal miners and authorities.

An EPO gives mining companies exclusive rights to search for minerals and peg claims.


ALSO READ: Villagers Walk Over 26Km to Reach Local Clinic


The license means that small-scale players in Matabeleland are left with no room to prospect for gold, forcing them to bribe government officials to get gold claims or mine illegally and engage in other criminal activities.


*Edited by Lizwe Sebatha | Fact Checked & Proofread by Melody Mpande


Do you have a hyperlocal story to share?

WhatsApp us on: +263 71 863 6459.  Email us on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Since You’re Here, We’ve a Small Request…

Our hard-hitting hyperlocal reporting and analysis reaches one in every three people across the greater region of Matabeleland, southwestern Zimbabwe. That means our content reaches approximately 60,000 readers each week. However, in order for our well-rounded journalism to reach more people who need it to make informed decisions about their lives and their communities, we need to build a strong audience of followers that would receive our rigorous reporting in just one place. Because of exorbitant internet data costs, we know most of our readers use messaging apps such as WhatsApp to get all our content in one place. But the platform, predominantly used by our readers, is not primarily designed for content distribution and reader engagement. That is why we’re building a WhatsApp Bot to navigate this challenge. But in order for this strategy to work effectively to serve our needs, we want all our casual readers like you to be part of our growing WhatsApp Community. To be part of this community of registered users, WhatsApp the word "JOIN" to +263 71 863 6459. We look forward to engaging and building a lasting relationship with you. Thank you.

Social and Economic justice, Local government, Gwanda

  • Last updated on .