Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
A WOMAN from Esigodini is lucky to be alive after she endured three hours of torture by a 14-member gang of amakorokoza who robbed her of 1,7kg of gold worth $70 000 and $1 000 in cash.
The gang allegedly beat Mrs Nomuhle MacLaren, a prominent businesswoman who runs Blackbird Mine at Inyankuni in Esigodini, with knobkerries and axes at her home, which also doubles as her office, on August 30.
They allegedly threatened to chop off her head to stop her from reporting them to the police because she knew them.
Police arrested Tapiwa Marovatsanga, one of the suspects, on September 8 and Archibald Ndlovu and Innocent Ndlovu both aged 24, on September 11 after a manhunt.
The three had already bought luxury vehicles at the time of their arrest.
Eleven gang members are still at large.
Innocent and Archibald appeared before Esigodini magistrate Mr Tawanda Muchemwa on Thursday.
Marovatsanga appeared earlier during the week and was remanded in custody to September 26.
The Ndlovus pleaded not guilty to the charges and were remanded in custody to the same date.
Magistrate Muchemwa denied them bail as they are considered a flight risk.
For the State, Mr Acumen Khuphe said the gang pounced on the woman at her office and started assaulting her before one of them took away a bag containing gold.
They got away with 1,7kg of gold, $1,000 and a cellphone.
Mr Khupe said the suspects had bought a Nissan X-trail, Toyota Bubble and other vehicles whose brands were not mentioned in court.
“On August 30, 2018, the accused persons in the company of Tapiwa Marovatsanga and other accused persons who are still at large, went to Blackbird Mine, Inyankuni, Esigodini, where they approached the complainant, Nomuhle MacLaren, who is the owner of the mine.
“They assaulted her with knobkerries and small axes all over the body. They then threatened to chop off her head with a machete before robbing her of 1,7kg gold, $1 000 and a Huawei cellphone,” said Mr Khuphe.
In a warned and cautioned statement, Archibald confessed that he bought a Nissan Xtrail and household property with his share of the stolen money.
He said he restrained his friends from assaulting Mrs MacLaren, a widow and her members of staff after they had found the gold.
Archibald said they had gone to Blackbird Mine to check on gold ore that they had taken for processing.
Part of the seized gold was sold in Zvishavane for $10 431.
Some of the named gang members are Tapiwa, MacDonald, Madodana, Badson and Ntokozo. — @andile_tshuma.