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Masimba Holdings warns workers about smash and grab muggings.


Harare, (New Ziana) – Local construction company Masimba Holdings Limited has warned its workers and the public in general about smash-and-grab muggings that have become prevalent on roads around the capital, especially at night.

In a memorandum to its workers, the company, one of the indigenous firms involved in the government road rehabilitation program around the country, advised its workers to avoid staying late into the night at work as this would expose them to muggings on the roads.

Masimba Holdings loss control manager, Thembekile Ngungu, a retired Zimbabwe National Army major, said there is a marked increase in night muggings and smash-and-grab crimes around Harare.

“The criminals are not only targeting vehicle drivers but pedestrians as well. Smash and grab crimes are generally perpetrated at traffic lights-controlled intersections, all roundabouts where traffic slows down or comes to a complete stop, and parking lots in shopping centres around Harare,” he said, and listed 21 hotspots where the crimes are occurring.

These include all intersections along Harare Drive, corner Churchill and Borrowdale Road, Churchill and Second Street Extension, corner King George and Lomagundi Roads, Quendon and West Road.

Others include Coventry and Rekai Tangwena Roads, Rotten Row and Mbare Roads, Lyton Road Filter into Rotten Row, all intersections along Rotten Row from Josiah Tongogara up to Chitungwiza Road (including the Mupedzanhamo area).

The crimes have also been noted at corner Chiremba Road and Glenara, Limpopo Road and Gleneagles. Limpopo Road from Gleneagles stretching up to Coventry Road (especially the railroad and Lyton Road underpass), all roundabouts (Kuwadzana, Highglen and Masasa among others and Willowvale industrial area due to reduced human traffic at night.

Avondale, Chisipite, Sam Levy’s Village, Westgate, High Glen, Machipisa and Madokero shopping centres are also affected and Ngungu said the list was not exhaustive

“We are all simply implored to be careful as we drive or walk around, especially at night. The golden rule on how to avoid getting into these very uncomfortable situations and stay safe is simply to avoid driving and being outdoors at night unless there is an emergency,” he said.

“In view of this, we advise those of us who sometimes stay late at work even when it is not necessary to consider carrying whatever residual work there will be home and finish it off from there.”

He said the company preferred to have its workers alive and well than incapacitated or dead.

In the unlikely event that it becomes inevitable for one to work late at the office and drive at night, and to avoid these sticky situations, they must avoid using their phones as the phone light attracts robbers and also directs them to where the gadget is.

“Avoid stopping at intersections by reducing your speed and driving slowly until the traffic light turns green – robbers rarely attack moving cars. If you really have to stop, do not stop too close to the car in front of you – leave room to maneuver in case of an attack,” said Ngungu.

“Keep your windows slightly open – they are hard to break when they are in that state, seek authority to have your car windows tinted to ensure no one can see inside your vehicle and where possible avoid using the same route when going home to ensure criminals do not study and know your routine.”

Ngungu urged workers to avoid leaving the office late and at the same time every day as criminals can also study this routine and ambush them, while pedestrians should avoid dropping off at the same time every day and vary their bus stops, route home and routine where possible.

“avoid carrying bags and do not show off when buying groceries or beers at your local shops (bulk grocery purchases should be done away from local shops where possible as most criminals study us and our routine), avoid carrying excessive cash unnecessarily and always switch off your phone as you disembark from your lift and only switch it on when you get home,” he said.

He urged the workers to share any other crime hot spots they know with colleagues.

New Ziana

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