By Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu
A member of a four-man machete gang has been sentenced to two years in jail after they robbed five miners and vendors in one night at Vhovha Mine in Gwanda.
Tavengwa Mudenda (23) of Njube suburb in Bulawayo pleaded not guilty to five counts of robbery but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence by Gwanda magistrate, Miss Lerato Nyathi.
His accomplices are still at large.
Mudenda was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment of which five months were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years. Five months were further suspended on condition that he pays R1 810 and $9 567 restitution to the complainants.
Prosecuting, Miss Faith Mutukwa said Mudenda and his three accomplices who were armed with machetes hatched a plan to rob people at Vhovha Mine on June 7.
“On 7 June at around 1a.m Mudenda who was in the company of three others who are still at large went to Mr Marizani Phiri’s makeshift tent where he was asleep.
“Mr Phiri was awakened by the noise from accused persons. The accused persons who were armed with machetes ordered the complainant to come out of his tent and lie on the ground.
“They tied his hands and legs together with shoe laces and took his belongings which comprised a cellphone, R300 and $180.
“The accused persons then assaulted the complaint while demanding to know the whereabouts of a gold buyer before fleeing the scene,” she said.
Miss Mutukwa said the accused persons proceeded to a tent where Ms Siphilisiwe Ndlovu was asleep with her husband Mr Traya Sibanda and they threatened to assault them with machetes while demanding money. She said they took $3 600, R530, four cellphones and some groceries. The accused persons tied Ms Ndlovu and her husband with shoe laces before fleeing the scene.
Miss Mutukwa said the gang went to another makeshift tent where Ms Resifelipelo Sibanda and her younger sister Ms Rosemary Ncube were asleep. The demanded money and fled with R200, $300 and two cellphones.
“The accused persons proceeded to a makeshift tent where Ms Elizabeth Mhlanga was sleeping and they broke the iron sheet door of the tent. They threatened to attack the complainant with machetes while demanding money. They searched her room and took $2 000 and a cellphone before fleeing the scene.
“The gang went to a makeshift tent which belongs to Ms Patricia Ndlovu and forcibly opened the door to gain entry.
They searched her tent and took $1 000, R200, 12 by 750ml bottles of whisky, a cellphone and recharge cards and fled the scene,” she said.
Miss Mutukwa said after they were attacked the complainants alerted other mine workers and they teamed up and tracked down the accused persons and caught up with them while they were sharing the stolen property in a bushy area. She said Mudenda was apprehended by the complainants while his accomplices fled. The complainants escorted Mudenda to the police station resulting in his arrest. The Chronicle