Thomas Mpofu brutally attacked by illegal miners as Zimbabwean police look away

A man from Homestead area of Esigodini is in intensive care unit at United Bulawayo Hospitals after he was axed and left for dead by amakorokoza who were illegally mining and digging a service road to the farm he worked at.

Thomas Mpofu was attacked by a group of seven illegal miners as he and a co-worker tried to stop the makorokozas from digging up a road on Thursday night. Mpofu was axed several times on the right side of the head and he lost his right eye on the scene. He only got to hospital hours after being injured, with police and ambulance services nowhere to be seen. He was taken to Esigodini Hospital by his employer with the assistance of a police officer from Bulawayo and BCC rangers who work in the area nearby.

Mpofu’s seven attackers, who fled from the scene, include Onesimo Ndlovu, Mdudusi Sibanda, Mlaleli Khumalo, Bekithemba Bhebhe, Phakamani Ncube, one only known as Super and another one only known as Nduna. Of these, Phakamani Ncube and Mlaleli Khumalo were arrested while the other five are still at large. Mlaleli Khumalo, an ex-soldier in the Zimbabwe national army is the leader of the group that was illegally mining in the farm.

The condition of Thomas Mpofu was compromised by the refusal of Esigodini police to render their services to the injured Mpofu, citing lack of resources. Because of this, it was difficult to obtain an ambulance service from the nearby Esigodini Hospital since a police report was needed. He was on the same night transferred to United Bulawayo Hospitals. His condition is serious in intensive care and the authorities were planning on transferring him to Harare for a specialized operation.

However, Nkondlo Mthethwa, who manages the family farm at which Mpofu was attacked, said the police left them at the mercy of criminals after he made several reports which they never attended to. He said the same police refused to assist them after the attack resulting in him seeking assistance from police in Bulawayo. Mthethwa said one Inspector Chigumbura at Esigodini police could not give reasons to their failure to act on the matter and shifted the blame on his subordinates, with one female officer Zhou being in charge of the station.

Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna, who is uncle to Thomas Mpofu, bemoaned the lackey service by the police, saying he had to travel all the way from Harare where he was meeting the service chiefs to come and take the injured to hospital.

“I am incredibly upset that I had to come all the way from Harare to see an enforcement officer at police then have to go to the army base to get things done. I mustn’t be dealing with this when we have law enforcement agencies in place. It is tiresome, I am incredibly upset and disappointed by this”, said Chief Ndiweni.

The visibly upset Chief Ndiweni told this reporter that the major contributory factors to the poor service were corruption and under resourcing, which he pegged at the scale of 80% to 20% respectively, saying the law enforcement agencies were not serious in dealing with the matter that has affected Esigodini for a long time now, with some officers were working in cahoots with the illegal miners.

“The problem we have here does not start today. Historically, reports have been made about this problem in Esigodini. Had the police been serious about this they would have solved it many years ago. This is purely an enforcement matter and the police must be resourced to deal with it. Also the corruption within the force has to be dealt with, otherwise instead of losing only business and service, we are losing lives to it”, the Chief said.

The chief called on the law enforcement agents not to accept and promote illegality especially in the mining industry, saying the police have invested interests in the business of illegal mining and that has to stop. He said there is no way they can curb the crimes that associate with this business as they are the ones in some instances run the illegal mines or provide downstream services such as stamping and equipment hire.

Esigodini police had not responded to this reporter at the time of going to print. The officer in charge was said to be out of office.

Source: Content from www.zimeye.net


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