A lawyer for 15 Zanu PF youths charged with robbery after interfering with operations at Sherwood Block gold mining claim yesterday said his clients were hired to provide private security.
Tendai Masawi, representing Zanu PF Kwekwe House of Assembly losing candidate in the last elections Masango “Blackman” Matambanadzo, said the group was hired by Clifford Sibanda, who is also claiming ownership of the claims.
Sibanda is a member of the Madzibaba Benson’s apostolic sect and is alleged to have engaged Matambanadzo and 14 others to provide security at the disputed mine.
“My clients were hired to provide security at the mine by the mine owner,” Masawi said.
“He even provided them with a vehicle which they used to drive to the mine.
“What happened thereafter is nothing more than just a scuffle in the mining area blown out of proportion by the media.”
Matambanadzo is out of custody facing charges of theft and violence after the stolen property was recovered from his home by police.
This comes amid revelations that Sibanda had enlisted the services of Zanu PF in trying to take control of the mining area which is also being claimed by another aspiring miner, Robert Chipwanyira.
Illegal panners descended on Sherwood Block early this month after people reportedly stumbled on gold nuggets.
It has since been declared a restricted area to control illegal mining.