HomeNewsJudge calls for lengthy sentences on violent miners

Judge calls for lengthy sentences on violent miners


Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, yesterday called for the imposition of lengthy and deterrent sentences on murderous mine workers to send a clear message that their lack of respect for human life does not pay.

BY Stephen Chadenga

Justice Mathonsi said it had now become a habit for miners, especially gold panners, to brutally end life, a situation that suggested they did not value the sanctity of human life.

In November last year, the government threatened punitive measures against artisanal miners following an incident involving Kwekwe miners, who had run riot attacking each other with one person losing his life, while others sustained life-threatening injuries in disputes over mining claims.

The judge made the remarks while sentencing a 32-year-old Zvishavane man, Portifer Chunda, who killed his brother, Tairod, with a chisel during a dispute in a mine shaft.

“We have many cases, where mine workers become violent, think human life is worthless and there is, therefore, need for lengthy sentences against such perpetrators,” he said.

Portifer, who fatally struck his brother, the mine manager, with a chisel twice on the head, was jailed for 14 years after being convicted of murder with constructive intent. He was represented by Nyasha Maguranyanga of Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba legal firm.

Prosecuting, Mirirai Shumba told the court that on September 27, 2015, Portifer and the now-deceased were at Donbrooke Mine along Mvuma Road.

Tairod confronted Portifer on why he was not performing his duties like other workers before ordering him to go home.

After the accused refused to obey his brother’s orders, Tairod grabbed him by the collar, but the former picked a chisel and struck the latter twice on the head. Tairod sustained a swollen head as a result of the attack and was ferried to Gweru General Hospital before being referred to Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, but died on the way there.

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