The High Court has set July 31 as the judgement day for a trigger-happy gold dealer who allegedly shot and killed a member of a rival mining gang in Esigodini.
Baron Dube (44), of Habane Extension township is being charged with the killing of 22-year-old Prince Anthony Bvundura in September 2018 following a dispute over a mining claim at Block 13 Atlas Mine in Esigodini.
Dube, who is out on $2 000 bail, appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva facing murder charges. He allegedly used a Voere 458 calibre rifle to end the life of Bvundura.
The incident occured at Block 13 Atlas Mine, which belongs to one Tendai Musanangura. The accused now claims that Musanangura authorised him to occupy the mining claim in question.
This is despite the fact that Musanangura has submitted that he never authorised Dube to occupy the mining claim in question.
Through his lawyer Leopold Mudisi of Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners, Dube told the court that the firearm accidentally discharged after he stepped on a rock and fell down while fleeing from a mob, which was throwing stones at him while baying for his blood.
He also submitted that the riffle which he is alleged to have used to shoot the deceased, was not loaded on that particular day and his driver, Saidi Mhlanga corroborated his evidence.
“I was fleeing from the illegal gold panners who were conducting illegal mining activities at the mine which I was assigned to occupy by the owner,” Dube told the court.
He however failed to justify himself under cross-examination.
Sifiso Ndlovu-Sibanda, who prosecuted, said on September 26, 2018, the now-deceased went to work at Block 13 Atlas Mine in Esigodini in the company of his workmates.
On the same day, Ndlovu-Sibanda said, Dube arranged a gang of about 20 people so that they could disperse everyone and take over the mine where there was a gold rush- an allegation which Dube denies.
“At about 11PM, the accused person armed himself with two guns, a revolver and a rifle and his accomplices were carrying machetes, axes, shovels and picks. He drove to the mine in his Toyota Land Cruiser with his gang and on arrival at the mine, he chased away all miners, claiming he had been granted authority to operate at the mine by the owner,” she told the court.
The deceased Bvundura reportedly died on the spot after he was shot while fleeing.
Post-mortem results also indicate that the cause of death was gunshot wound, heart destruction and hypovolemic shock.
Dube and and his hired thugs, according to one state witness Mkhululi Sibanda in his testimony last year,chased away everyone at the mine, arguing that the area belonged to him.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews