By Gibson Mhaka
Former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) member and MDC-T Bulawayo senator, Matson Hlalo is at the centre of an assassination plot after two brothers sued him over threats to hire a hitman from South Africa to kill them following a protracted wrangle over a mining licence in Ntabazinduna.
Mkhanyeli Masuku and Mbiko Masuku claimed Hlalo threatened to shoot them as punishment for refusing to renew his contract at Chen Mine.
The duo claimed the top politician also threatened to enlist the services of some officials from the President’s Office to “decisively deal with them”.
Fearing for their lives, the two brothers approached the Bulawayo Civil Court seeking a protection order against the ex-senator.
In their separate affidavits they alleged that they were now living in extreme fear after Hlalo threatened to teach them a lesson “they would never forget”.
“I know Matson Hlalo as someone whom we once contracted to mine at my workplace at Chen Mine situated in Ntabazinduna Khoce A and B. Our contract with him has since expired. He is now threatening to shoot me with his gun because I refused to renew his contract. He is also threatening to hire thugs and a hitman from South Africa to assassinate me.
“He said he is connected with the CIO and he can use them to deal with me. He said as a respected politician he wants to teach me a lesson as a small boy. He also goes around peddling lies to my brother and father, something which has since destroyed my relationship with them.
“I now pray for a protection order to stop him from peddling lies against me, coming to my workplace and home in Jabulani Line in Ntabazinduna,” reads part of Mkhanyeli’s affidavit which was also being supported by that of his brother Mbiko.
Through their lawyer Dumisani Dube, of Mathonsi Law Chambers Mkhanyeli and Mbiko stated that court officials also received threats from third parties who are suspected to be Hlalo’s emissaries.
“These threats to official members are being investigated by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Chief Magistrate as well as by Judge President. The President’s Office has also been advised of those members of the CIO who could be abusing their authority and there is no harm that respondent should be ordered to keep peace with the applicants,” Dube said.
He said if there were any differences among the parties due process of the law should be followed so that law and order is maintained and preserved in society.
In response, Hlalo through his lawyer Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys dismissed the accusations levelled against him adding that the two brothers through their application for a protection order they were flagrantly abusing the court process.
“This is a classic case of abuse of court process. It is clear from the applicants that they have been trying to perpetuate a certain agenda,” Ncube said.
He added: “The first applicant (Mkhanyeli Masuku) has stated that respondent has threatened to shoot him with a gun because he refused to renew the contract. We are being told a lie. He is not part of the Chen Syndicate at all. He doesn’t have the power to renew or cancel the licence. He is a stranger from the coast with an inflated ego.
“As if that is not enough in his prayer, he prays for a protection order stopping respondent from coming to his workplace, residential place and the whole of Jabulani Line in Ntabazinduna and from peddling lies.
“He is no longer praying that he be protected from the threats of being shot. It is the same thing that happens with second applicant (Mbiko Masuku) who says he refused to renew a contract.”
He further said the two brothers were not part of the mine in question. Bulawayo magistrate Nomasiko Ndlovu who presided over the matter subsequently dismissed it. B Metro