Police have managed to restore sanity in mines and surrounding areas after thwarting a wave of violence orchestrated by machete wielding gangs in the past two months, legislators heard yesterday.
The orgy of violence claimed the lives of several people and left many injured.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said the law enforcement agencies were equal to the challenge and managed to arrest gang leaders and sealed off problem areas resulting in sanity prevailing.
Minister Kazembe said this yesterday while giving oral evidence before a joint sitting of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs, Mines and Mining Development Committee and Senate’s Thematic committee.
“The operations we are embarking on will rid of the menace. Given our security forces, which are the best, we should not have serious challenges. If people are still dying I do not think it is at the scale it used to be. I am still to hear of a new case. We used to receive cases on a daily basis. The Operation will continue until there is complete sanity,” said Minister Kazembe.
He said there was no need to bring in the Zimbabwe National Army because the police were capable of handling the challenge.
“I do not subscribe to that. The police do have the capacity, given the resources, so far so good and they have handled the issue so well. We have managed to silence Mashonaland East, West and Manicaland. We are seeing the results, there is sanity now. Go to Jumbo or Penhalonga or Shamva,” he said.
During their operations, their findings suggested that the machete-wielding gangs were being funded by people with deep pockets.
“Of great concern is an observation that these gangs have become more organised and the type of equipment they were using suggests sponsorship by people with financial muscle.
The key word is “It suggests”, meaning it is speculation and we are indeed investigating it.
The way they are operating appears to us that they must be some people sponsoring them. It is not yet confirmed.
Allegations that they are politicians are involved.
Yes, there are some politicians who have been arrested, found on the wrong side of the law, but again the problem we have is that we read these things, we are not suggesting that it is not happening, we read it on social media that there are politicians involved,” he said.
“When these happens, it does not happen in a vacuum, somebody must know what is happening why don’t you bring the evidence for investigations, we are keen to bring everybody involved to book.
We want people to be accounted for but if evidence is not forthcoming it is a problem. It is easy to accuse people on the social media.”
Responding to questions, Deputy Commissioner General Learn Ncube said there was no law prohibiting people from carrying or manufacturing machetes.
“We do not have any laws in terms of regulating the production of machetes. A machete is used in the Lowveld for cutting cane, if you go to our neighbouring countries they use them to clear their lands. Even if you do not have anyone producing they can still be brought from outside our borders. The underlying factor is that we do not have a law, we only use POSA, during a prescribed period and after that period you cannot arrest a person,” said DCG Ncube.