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Security Guards Set Free Over “Slavery” Protest

Bulawayo Magistrate Nomagugu Maphosa on Monday 5 June 2023 ended the detention of three trade unionists, who had been arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers for allegedly protesting against “slavery” at two of the country’s leading retail outlets.

ZRP officers arrested Last Danga Muzondo aged 59 years, Dzimudzi Feremba aged 52 years and Kholwani Tshuma aged 50 years, who are all residents of Bulawayo and are employed as security guards and charged them with participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breach of peace and bigotry as defined in section 37(1)(a)(i) and (ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors claimed that Muzondo, Feremba and Tshuma, who are leaders of the Private Security Workers Union (PSWU), chanted some songs with the lyrics Intolenzayo Siyayizonda, which they translated to mean “We despise what you are doing” and waved some placards written “No to Slavery” “USD” on Saturday 3 June 2023 during a demonstration held at the premises of an OK Zimbabwe retail outlet and at an N. Richards Group wholesale outlet located in Bulawayo.

Prosecutors said Muzondo, who is the National Chairperson of PSWU and is employed by Fawcett Security Company, Feremba, who is also employed by Fawcett Security Company and is the Vice-President of PSWU and Tshuma, who is employed by Peace Security Company, demanded that other security guards manning the premises at an OK Zimbabwe retail outlet and at an N. Richards Group wholesale outlet, should join in their protest.

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Prosecutors charged that this alleged conduct provoked a breach of peace, security or order of the public.

The trio, who spent the weekend in police detention before being brought to court, was set free on Monday 5 June 2023 after their lawyer Jabulani Mhlanga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, applied for their release on bail.

In setting them free, Magistrate Maphosa ordered Muzondo, Feremba and Tshuma to pay ZWL50 000 each in bail money and stated that they should continue residing at their given residential addresses, not interfere with witnesses and investigations and to report at their respective police stations once a week on Fridays.

They return to court on 19 June 2023.

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