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LOBAMBA – Soldiers are allegedly torturing people who cross at informal crossing points. This was said by Zombodze Emuva Constituency Member of Parliament Titus Thwala, who alleged that the soldiers made the people do push ups and all sorts of other exercises regardless of their age.

He informed the Minister of National Defence and Security Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze that elderly ladies were beaten up thoroughly to the extent that they even had to be taken to their respective homes in wheelbarrows after the beatings.

Gamedze said it  there were two crossing areas, some of them were called illegal crossings and informal crossing points. He said if there were any cases of torture he would like to apologise on behalf of the army. “If that happened we are sorry and it will not happen again,” said Gamedze. He said the informal crossing points were legal as there were United Nations conventions which allowed neighbouring states or the people who lived near the borders to cross into them because there were services that each could use in one country. 

The ministry also reported that the fencing at the informal crossings were also badly damaged and needed to be fixed.
Appointed MP Thuli Dladla also asked if the ministry was considering any insurance for the army personnel as they worked under trying conditions. Gamedze said the defence had now reached a state where some form of insurance would be taken for army personnel.

He said previously the army did not benefit from workman’s compensation and made examples of police and fire personnel. He said the Ministry of Labour and Social Security had to amend that law and were making calculations on how much they would be paid. He said the ministry would amend the workman’s compensation laws something they were finalising as soon as possible and hoped that soon they would table a Bill. “That is what Cabinet was doing because we had seen the increased number of officers getting hurt on the job,” he said.

On another note, members of the portfolio committee complained that they were not engaged in most of the ministries activities. 
They said they were only remembered during the army day.

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