Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
A 20-man gang last week held the chairperson of West Nicholson Youth Mine in Matabeleland South hostage, resulting in attempted car run-over as the dispute over the mine rages on.
The gang blocked the road to stop Mr Mpumelelo Nyoni from driving away from the mining area. They further removed keys from the ignition by force.
An order was recently passed by the High Court stopping operations at the mine pending an outcome to the ownership wrangle.
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele confirmed the incident which occurred at the mine on Tuesday in the afternoon.
“I can confirm that a report was made about commotion at the West Nicholson Youth Mine. A group of about 20 people reportedly blocked the road to stop Mr Mpumelelo Nyoni from leaving the mine. They further removed his car keys from the ignition by force.
“As he tried to drive away he hit Mr Mhlaba Nkomo and Mr Bongani Sibanda who were part of the gang but they didn’t sustain any visible injuries. The matter has been referred to Gwanda Traffic Police for further investigations,” he said.
Insp Ndebele appealed to members of the public to desist from violence when resolving disputes.
He also urged people to seek assistance from relevant authorities if they had disputes over ownership of property.
A source said following an order that was passed by the High Court recently, security officers were deployed to the mine to ensure that no one carried out mining activities.
“There is wrangle over the mine and an order was recently passed by the High Court stopping all mine operations. The order was delivered to Mr Mpumelelo Nyoni who is the mine chairperson. Security officers were also deployed to ensure that operations don’t resume.
“On Tuesday Mr Nyoni went to the mine area and while he was there a group of 20 people approached him and started threatening to beat him up. He rushed to his car and as he tried to drive away the gang blocked the road in order to stop him from leaving.
“As Mr Nyoni tried to drive away by force he hit Mr Mhlaba Nkomo and Mr Bongani Sibanda,” said the source.
Police were called to quell the volatile situation.