Andile Tshuma/Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporters
A MAN (26) was killed by three suspected gold panners in Esigodini after he tried to protect his fiancé from indecent assault, putting an end to their dream wedding that was set for December.
Nkosi Ndlela was in the company of his wife-to-be, whose name was not revealed by his family, on Thursday at around 8PM when the incident occurred.
Ndlela left home as he normally did to wait for his fiancé at the bus stop as she was coming home from work. As they walked home, the gold panners started proposing to her and fondling her and Ndlela was killed while trying to protect her.
His fiancé’s brother, Mr McKenzie Mlauzi, was also stabbed a few hours later and is battling for life at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) after tipping off police on the whereabouts of the suspects who are all still at large.
Matabeleland South Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that we are dealing with a murder case which occurred in Esigodini, Habane Township. The matter is under investigation,” said Chief Inspector Ndebele.
The deceased’s elder brother, Mr Mzondiwa Ndlela said his brother had died a painful death yet he lived all his life a peaceful man. “His wife was called by some gold panners who were drinking at the shops.
They started shouting obscenities at her and were proposing love to her in his presence. He asked them to stop as she was his wife and they started assaulting her. He tried to stop them but they turned on him and started assaulting him. She begged them to stop and not to kill him when they told him that they would kill him.
“However, one of them struck him on the thigh with an axe and he started bleeding profusely. They stoned him and left him for dead.
“He died on admission to United Bulawayo Hospitals,” said a visibly heartbroken Mr Ndlela.
“He was very quiet. He was taking care of our 89 year old father. Our mother is late. Life will be very difficult for us. He was the second last born child in our family and he was preparing to formalise marital relations with his in-laws.”
He said the deceased was set to wed in December.
A Chronicle news crew visited Esigodini yesterday and spoke to some residents.
One of the mourners at the funeral wake said they now fear for their lives due to gang violence from gold panners. “It is very dangerous because we now fear for our lives. Our children can no longer play outside and we have to take our daughters to school and back because it is just not safe anymore,” said Mrs Concillia Ncube.
“I was born here and inherited this house from my parents but the place has just become inhabitable. I’m planning to sell it and go and live in Bulawayo or Gwanda. Esigodini is just a place of lawlessness now,” said another resident who identified himself as Mr Nkomo.
Other residents called for transfers of police and judicial officers, saying they no longer had faith in them as they allegedly “protect” some known violent criminals.
Residents held a meeting yesterday afternoon and shared sentiments that violent gold panners should be evicted from their area.
They called for the intervention of the Zimbabwe National Army into the frequent gold wars caused by the panners.
Gangsterism is rampant in the mining area, with a number of locals being forced out of their homes due to unbearable violence. — @andile_tshuma/winnie_masara