Respected journalist Brezhnev Malaba has criticised the government’s decision to grant Chinese companies mining concessions to explore coal in Hwange National Park upstream of Deka River which has led to massive environmental degradation.
Malaba has called for human rights lawyers to take up the case to protect villagers in Hwange who are losing cattle, goats and aquatic life due to toxins being released into the river. Malaba wrote on Twitter:
The licensing of coal-mining activities inside the Hwange National Park is a continuation of the catastrophic decisions of an uncaring government that prioritises cartels and naked profiteering over the wellbeing of citizens. Go to the district and visit the heavily polluted Deka River.
Lives of thousands of people in the local communities of Chachachunda, Mashala, Zwabo, Mwemba and Simangani are at grave risk. Water from the polluted river has killed cattle, goats and aquatic life. The source of these deadly toxins is acid mine drainage from coal-mining activities.
The time has come for human rights lawyers to take up this case and defend helpless villagers against a corrupt govt that turns a blind eye to such unspeakable injustice. Deka River is an important tributary of the Zambezi River. The government and its mining cartels must be stopped.
Reports indicate that the government granted coal-mining concessions to two Chinese-owned firms, Afrochine Energy and the Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group, to mine coal in the country’s largest game park.
Communities in Hwange are already up in arms with the companies whom they accuse of polluting homes, schools, clinics, and irrigation schemes.