Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that a worker at Vumbachikwe Mine plunged to death in the morning when he was going down a shaft to perform his duties. Police are still investigating the matter and more details will come in due course,” said Insp Ndebele.
He identified the deceased as Mugovewashe Kwashira (27) and said the body was taken to Gwanda provincial hospital for a postmortem.
A source who spoke to The Chronicle on condition of anonymity said Kwashira slipped from a “ladder” which he was using to go down the shaft.
“The conveyor cage which the workers always use to go down the mine was down so management authorised that their workers use a ladder to go down the shaft. Some of the workers managed to go down but when Kwashira’s turn came, he slipped and plunged about 160 metres to his death,” said the source.
“Instead of suspending operations awaiting repair of the conveyor cage, the mine management insisted that the workers use the ladder down the shaft. The other problem is that it appeared Kwashira had no safety belt to harness him to the ladder hence he slipped and plunged down the full depth of the shaft leading to his death.”
The latest incident comes barely a year after an employee at Jessie Mine on the outskirts of Gwanda was also crushed to death after a boulder weighing more than a tonne fell on him while he was underground.
In 2014, another Vumbachikwe Mine worker died after he was crushed to death when a boulder weighing more than 1 000 kilogrammes fell on him.
Efforts to get a comment from the mine’s management were fruitless.-Chronicle