A section of the Boterekwa road popularly known as the “danger zone” which is at the foot of the 8km section as one heads out of the Boterekwa escarpment going towards Zvishavane has collapsed.
Last week pictures and videos went viral on social media with some people saying the whole Boterekwa has collapsed however the GreatDykeNews24 crew conducted some interviews with a number of residents who refuted the claim that the whole of Boterekwa has collapsed as seen on social media.
According to sources, the collapse came after illegal gold panners in the area dug a 15m-deep and 7m-wide cross-cut tunnel under the road.
“Yes, its true but not the extent of what people are saying that Boterekwa has collapsed, that is not the real truth.
“It’s the part where there is the old Unki turn off-road that’s where the tunnel which stretches beneath the road is. It once gave in some time ago and people were removed from there and now they were coming back over the night to dig.
“Due to the constant movement of traffic and heavy vehicles, the ground started giving in.
“The way people are saying it, of course it was a very big hazard because vehicles were now using one lane. The government through the relevant Ministry has intervened”, said Marvelous Madzivanyika from ward 10 Shurugwi South.
” The fact that there is a collapse along the road is true but this was caused by illegal miners who have for a long time been a threat to our livelihoods as they were digging all over the place without taking into considerations to the community.
“These are fortune seekers who come from places as far as Masvingo. We have been calling on the authorities to intervene, the place is now dangerous but however the government has intervened and we are hoping that it will be sorted very soon before any accidents take place,” said Memory Chitsinde from Shurugwi.
Despite several accidents, most of which have been attributed to human error, Boterekwa has provided passage to cargo trucks, buses and small cars which use the highway.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) had long been battling to contain illegal mining activities by artisanal miners along the Boterekwa Pass, pointing out that they sometimes do joint operations with police to ward off artisanal miners.