Former minister arrested for ’robbery’

Prison - Jailed - JailFormer National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu and his two sons were on Monday arrested after a man who had allegedly been caught gathering firewood in the former minister’s farm filed robbery charges against them.

Mzila-Ndlovu and his sons — Tjakalisa and Umile — were supposed to appear at the Plumtree Magistrates Courts yesterday over the robbery allegations raised by the suspected firewood poacher, Mike Makichini.

The case, however, failed to take off after Mzila-Ndlovu’s lawyer, Nqobani Sithole, challenged the placement of the former minister on remand, pending conclusive investigations on the matter.

“The (suspected firewood) poacher made robbery allegation so against my client and we are challenging that. The allegation must be investigated before any arrests are made,” Sithole told Southern Eye.

“It was finally agreed that they proceed with the case by way of summons after we challenged their placement on remand.”

Charges against Mzila-Ndlovu and his sons are that they robbed Makichini — after they had allegedly caught him red-handed, cutting down trees for firewood at Khami Magazine Farm at the 19km peg along the Bulawayo-Plumtree road — of his mobile phone, axe and wheelbarrow.

“This poacher that we apprehended at the farm on Thursday went to the police to accuse us of robbing him of his axe, cellphone and wheelbarrow,” he said.

“The police called us to report to the station the following day, but we could not make it, and we made a gentleman’s agreement to avail ourselves on Monday,” Mzila-Ndovu said.

“However, to our shock, we were arrested and detained on charges of robbery, only to be released following the intervention of our lawyer. This is not the first time; it has happened before after I got arrested over trumped-up charges at my farm.

“I doubt very much that these are poachers, but people sent to cause trouble and my arrest because how can we be accused of stealing from a thief.”

In 2013, Mzila-Ndlovu was arrested and charged with threatening to shoot two firewood poachers, robbing them of their cash, car keys, cell phone and personal identity documents after apprehending them at his farm.

He was, however, acquitted of the charges.