POLICE in Beitbridge had a torrid time on Saturday dispersing a rowdy group of at least 80 security guards employed by the National Eye Security Company who besieged their employer's office, protesting against their transfer from the Beitbridge Border Post.
The guards shouted abusive language at management and threatened them with assault after they were hastily transferred over alleged dereliction of duty and corruption.
"We have been moved to other towns, but we were not given notice," one of the guards said.
Police were seen visiting the National Eye Security offices yesterday and at night a group of police officers dispersed the demonstrators without any incident.
An official of the company, Godknows Nhokwara, confirmed a new team had been deployed to Beitbridge, but referred further questions to his head office.
"We have new guards for our assignment at the border and that is all I can tell you," he curtly said.
National Eye Security director Tapson Madzivire said the affected workers had signed contracts with a clause giving the company the right to transfer them to any part of the country.
"Our client is the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and we have an obligation to transfer our guards regularly because of the nature of their duties at borders. As such the guards have been transferred to other stations and not fired as they want people to believe. The contracts they signed with us state they can be transferred at any time we are within contractual bounds," Madzivire said.
"We are required to rotate our guards and we have to abide by that."
Zimra employs private guards as support staff at its borders and their duties involve management of traffic, both human and vehicular, guarding buildings, staff accommodation and other points of the revenue body's interest.
At the border post, some of the guards have been accused of facilitating smuggling of goods by cross-border transporters, while other are accused of turning a blind eye to pickpockets and touts marauding at the border post. Customs and Excise sources yesterday said loss control officials from their head office had been deployed to the border town to ensure transferred guards would not interfere with work at the border post.
In 2016, the Zimbabwe Republic Police transferred the entire Beitbridge police team, comprising 600 members including sweepers after they failed to control rioters, who ended up burning a State warehouse and looting several shops in what was largely believed to have been a sponsored resistance of Statutory Instrument 64/2016, which banned importation of basic commodities.