Most soil extraction is carried out at night when council security officers do not patrol the affected areas. “The practice adversely affected council housing developmental projects, as areas affected by the illegal soil extraction are almost impossible to service for both residential and commercial purposes,” added the mayor.
The thieves even use mechanized earthmoving equipment such as graders, front loaders, tipper trucks and other heavy machinery to illegally extract the soil.
Soil poaching is fast crawling towards farming areas under the jurisdiction of Rural District Councils. Some new farmers desperate to make a living have been accused of selling soil from their properties to the poachers. But analysts say the practice would render farms unproductive in the long run, as it strips away valuable top soil.
The Zimbabwean: Soil poaching on the rise