While the shutting down of Shabanie-Mashava Mines (SMM) deprived many Zvishavane residents of a decent way of earning a living, another scourge has emerged in the midst of their suffering – that of mosquitoes.
Zvishave mining town has a lot of swampy areas that provide breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Many local people are bemoaning the closure of the mines which used to spray the entire mining town to get rid of the parasites just before the onset of the rainy season.
The local authority and the government have not risen to the occasion to cover that gap left by the closed mines.
Nancy Mureri, a resident from the high density suburb of Maglas suburb, told Studio 7 that the mosquitoes give them sleepless nights.
"We are in trouble with these mosquitoes. You will find them everywhere in dark corners, in wardrobes under the sinks and they will be so many of them. At night you cannot sleep. You know how irritating mosquitoes are. I cannot afford to buy the spray that lasts longer. Sometimes I burn barks of trees to try and get rid of them,” said Mureri.
Mercy Mushangwe, a former Shabanie mine worker, told Studio 7 that residents dread the onset of summer as it brings a perennial problem in the mosquitoes.
"The mine itself had a department which would go around spraying and killing mosquitoes because we have so many swampy areas in Shabanie, but now all that has ceased. You find that Shabanie is now infested with mosquitoes. It is good enough that at least they do not have malaria but you cannot spend a night without either lighting a mosquito coil or if you don't have a mosquito net they will feast on you.”
Another resident, Matthew Gwene, appealed to other mines operating in Zvishavane to assist residents in getting rid of the mosquitoes.
Gwene said, “It is clear that as residents we are not able to deal with the mosquitoes that are in the whole town. Some try to spray in their own homesteads but it does not help much because after a few days you would need to spray again. What works is when the whole town and the breeding areas are sprayed at one. We hope the mines that are still operating and the corporate world will assist.”
Shabanie Mine, which is part of the Shabanie-Mashava Mines, has been at the centre of a protracted ownership wrangle between former owner, Mutumwa Mawere, and the government.
It is now owned by the state-controlled Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation but there are no operations currently taking place.