POLICE in Gwanda, Bulilima and Mangwe districts of Matabeleland South have imposed a three-month ban on the carrying of knobkerries and catapults, among other “weapons”, citing increased crime in the province.


According to the police, the prohibition order was issued in terms of section 14 (4) of the Public Order and Security Act Chapter (11:17). Failure to comply with the ban attracts a fine, a six-month jail sentence or both.

In rural Matabeleland, the carrying of knobkerries is, however, a common long practiced tradition and they can be used as walking sticks.

In Gwanda, the ban came into effect on Wednesday this week till February 11, 2020.
It was issued by the Officer Commanding Gwanda district Superintendent Rudo Chitombi.

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Officer Commanding Bulilima and Mangwe district Superintendent Stephen Mutema said the ban runs till January 15 next year. It came into effect on November 10.

In a statement, Mutema said: “The regulating authority of the area believes on reasonable grounds that carrying in public whether openly or by concealment in a public place or public thoroughfare or public display of any of the following weapons or items capable of use as a weapon (A) catapults, machetes, axes, knobkerries, swords, knives or daggas, (B) any traditional weapons likely to occasion public disorder or a breach of peace.”

Matabeleland South police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele said the ban on the carrying of the weapons was in response to increased assault, robbery, murder and other crimes in the province.

“We are concerned about robbery, assault, murder and other crime cases, whereby people use (these items as) weapons at the slightest provocation. The other contributing factor (to these crimes) is of people keeping large sums of money at home and become easy targets for criminals. That is the challenge we are facing,” Ndebele told Southern Eye yesterday.

On Monday, reports said a Filabusi businessman Douglas Chitengo lost US$20 660, R72 300 and $1 100, among other valuables, to four men armed with pistols who stormed his home in a pre-dawn raid.