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Illegal Sand Miners Torment Police

PINI BOTHOKO
As there appears to be a boom in construction of properties around Gaborone and surroundings villages, such activities require water and sand, but an insatiable appetite for the latter is said to be fuelling illegal sand mining.

According to the police, illegal miners remove truckloads of sand in the river basins on a daily basis resulting in serious environmental damage.

Officer Commanding Senior Superintendent, Counsel Moyo said massive sand mining stretch along Metsimotlhabe River and threatens the environment. He revealed that the whole of last week, Mogoditshane police arrested illegal sand miners. The police also seized more than 10 trucks in the process.

Moyo said illegal mining contributes to the degradation of rivers.  He regretted that Batswana are turning a blind eye to the situation, opting instead to turn sand mining into a business.

“Majority of Batswana are engaged in illegal sand mining and they don’t seem to care about the implication of their unlawful activity.

We have arrested Batswana doing business through sand mining and foreigners working for Batswana in such businesses as truck drivers,” Moyo said.

On Saturday, Mogoditshane police arrested and seized two trucks, which are currently parked at the police with suspects in police custody.

Moyo said licensed companies are struggling to get business because they are competing with un-licensed miners who appear to be winning the jobs over them as

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they offer sand at lower prices.

Moyo stated that sand mining also threatens life span of Metsimotlhabe River adding that its current state is not pleasing. Furthermore, he said the river used to be able to hold water for a longer period of time but currently it is dirty with bushes and tall reeds.

Meanwhile the police boss also raised concern over electric cable thieves terrorizing in his policing area. He said they have been hit by a wave of theft of Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) electric cables crippling the corporation.

Moyo suspects that a knowledgeable syndicate of criminals that harvests copper for sale has descended into his area especially Gaborone west phase 1, Mogoditshane, Block 10 and Gaborone north causing havoc.

“I have observed that scarp yards are the source because they are the ones who purchase the cables from them. Thieves disconnect and steal live electric cables that connect to private homes putting members of the community into danger of electric shock,” Moyo said.

Despite increased night patrols due to the rising cable theft, criminals continue to find their way stealing cables, lamented.



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