ELEVEN Old Nic Mine workers were allegedly subjected to severe torture by officers from a security company hired by management to investigate the disappearance of about 480 grammes of gold a fortnight ago.
A police report made at the Bulawayo Central Police Station indicated that the mine workers were beaten and some of them needed hospital treatment as a result of the injuries they sustained. A mine worker said management hired a security company run by Zanu PF Bulawayo Central District chairperson Joe Chiyangwa to investigate the disappearance of the gold.
“The security company officers searched the workers, but did not find anything and this seemed to have angered them,” said the worker.
“They ordered the miners to strip naked and started beating them up with button sticks and open hands until they started bleeding. They made them bend and inserted a wire into their backsides saying they wanted to retrieve gold sachets they had hidden. The torture was nauseating to watch.
“The following day, management suspended the 11 workers even though their investigators had found nothing,” said the worker.
The worker said mine management summoned the workers for a disciplinary hearing on Thursday last week and the outcome is expected today. Some workers accused the mine’s security officer Amos Mugwise of lying to management that they were stealing gold.
“Mugwise is the one who fabricated the story because of money. These days he moves around with a gun — a thing he never used to do,” said one worker.
A victim of the alleged torture narrated his ordeal saying he was failing to come to terms with the barbaric torture they were subjected to by Chiyangwa’s security.
“This security company needs to be investigated for human rights abuse,” the victim said.
“They just harassed everyone they came across. We are currently on suspension for no apparent reason and it is unfair,” said the victim.
However, Chiyangwa refuted claims that his workers tortured the mine employees saying it was a fabrication instigated by some Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives involved in the racket.
“There is nothing of that sort. They are now trying to come up with excuses that they were tortured,” he said.
‘If they were beaten, they should have reported the matter to the police on the very same day we handed them in at Bulawayo Central Police Station or raised the issue at their first appearance in court.”
The workers appealed to the Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa to intervene to prevent further abuse. Old Nic Mine was recently rocked by an unexplained explosion that seriously injured two mine workers. Contacted for comment, a manager at Old Nic Mine only identified as JJ Nell said: “I have no idea, please call the police.”