Zimbabwean Minister Assaulted, Robbed In South Africa

Harare, Zimbabwe, 17 August 2009

South African Police Services (SAPS) are refusing to release the name of a Zimbabwean cabinet minister whom they confirm was assaulted during a robbery at a friend's house in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

But locally, the minister has been identified as Fidelis Mhashu, the MDC Minister of National Housing and Social Ammenities. The house where he assaulted is Mutumwa Mawere's.

Mhashu lost R5 000, a watch and a phone.

The minister was hit on the back of the head with a gun during the robbery.

This is not stopping SAPS from blaming the unfortunate minister for the crime committed against him, however.

They say he got what he deserved because he did not follow protocol. He should have done this by notifying SAPS that he had arrived in the country and requesting VIP protection. The police say he was entitled to the protection, as are all visiting ministers from foreign countries. The minister was ignorant of this fact.

The minister was reportedly having supper with his friends at their house in the posh Bryanston suburb of Johannesburg when "several men stormed in", beat them about, tied them all up and demanded cash and jewellery. They manage to get away with a cash jewellery as well as "electronic goods".

The minister was admitted to hospital on Friday night and was discharged on Saturday 15 August 2009.

A police spokesman said, "We need to emphasise that it is protocol to ask for VIP protection from the VIP protection unit, " adding "..if any minister comes into the country, he must register with the South African government and request VIP protection."

The police in Johannesburg also refuse to say whether the minister has now returned to Zimbabwe or is still in South Africa.

Johannesburg is known as the murder capital of the world, having deposed New York from that inglorious perch. Violent robberies are said to be a common occurrence and the Democratic Party of South Africa under Tony Leon tried to channel anger over crime into political capital but it never really paid off.

South African themselves remain very concerned about the crime rate in their country and especially in Johannesburg.

I suppose we will know soon enough who the minister is and then you can rest assured it will be right here on this blog as soon as that happens.


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