BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
Two Hwange men died after they were trapped in a pit where they were digging for coke ore, a leading resident association has said.
Greater Whange Residents Association chairperson Fidelis Chima said the two, who are yet to be identified, died on Monday in the Empumalanga area.
“The incident happened on Monday at one of the dumpsites belonging to Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) where the pit collapsed on them,” Chima said.
“We understand that one of the deceased was a youth, who had just finished his college studies.
“For now we cannot share their personal details as police have not issued a statement, but they were digging for ore that they would sell to brick moulders.”
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda was not reachable.
Cases of people dying after being trapped in HCCL’s dumpsites have become common in the coal mining town and Chima blamed the pattern on poverty and economic hardships.
“People are struggling especially the youths who are unemployed, and this is the reason why they end up resorting to these illegal and dangerous survival means,” he said.
In May, Sekani Mathe (37) from Madumabisa Village was trapped to death in one of the pits as she was digging for coke.
Another victim, Simelweyinkosi Dube of A110B met her death in February last year and HCCL at the time said the woman had trespassed into the company’s dump site with the intention to steal coke while in the company of a colleague, who escaped severe injuries.
This was after the tunnel where they were scavenging for coke collapsed unexpectedly.
Women in the area say the product is in high demand in Bulawayo and Harare where the buyers hire haulage trucks to do door to door collections on a weekly basis.
Others sell their consignments to truck drivers at the unregulated truck stop at Cindrella.