By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
21 July 2014
Significant gold deposits have been discovered by panners at Inyathi, in the Bubi district of Matebeleland North, reports suggest.
According to the State-run Chronicle newspaper the discovery happened last month and since then thousands of panners from across the country have flocked to the area in search of the mineral.
The Bubi area boasts a number of gold mines and the latest discovery will be no surprise to those who are familiar with the area. Two panners caught during a police raid last week are reported to have been carrying almost 30kg of gold. At the current price of $40 per gram, this amounts to $1.2 million.
Last week the Zim government raised concern over on-going illicit mining activities said to be costing the country billions of dollars.
This was after authorities seized “a huge gold and diamond haul from over 2,500 people,” a report in the NewsDay newspaper said Monday.
Economist Vince Musewe said the amount of gold seized from the Inyathi panners contradicts the ruling party’s claim that the country is broke and can’t afford to implement social programmes or to kick-start the economy.
“Zimbabwe is a very rich country and every other year we hear of more mineral reserves being discovered across the country. The problem we have is corruption and lack of accountability. We have a secret, parallel economy which is benefiting a few people who run the country.
“We have a very vibrant but secret economy which is only accessible to the ZANU PF elite and that system is surviving and thriving on revenue from minerals while the majority of Zimbabweans who are excluded continue to suffer,” Musewe told SW Radio Africa on the Zim We Want programme.
Musewe said ruling party officials did not feel compelled to change anything because the system they had created protected them from the harsh economic realities that ordinary Zimbabweans are subjected to every day.
“That is why Mugabe is brazenly claiming that the economy is improving when everyone else outside ZANU PF is seeing collapse. It is part of the leadership crisis that we are facing in Zimbabwe,” Musewe added.
In addition to rich gold deposits, Zimbabwe sits on some of the world’s largest platinum and diamond reserves. However, very little of this makes it to the Treasury, with the country relying on western donors to finance all social and economic programmes.