HARARE - Garwe Restaurant owner Mandy Bvukwe was detained by unpaid workers at her 1 500-square metre Greendale estate.
Bvukwe is currently developing 13 three-bedroomed flats in Greendale.
Matters came to a head on Wednesday after builders constructing the self-contained housing units detained her and barred her from leaving in the process.
The workers, who were clamouring for unpaid wages back dating to October last year took matters into their own hands by forming a barricade and cordoning off the exit.
Bvukwe attempted to pull back her black Nissan Navarra but found the entrance blocked by the irate builders.
It took prolonged talks between the two parties from 10am until evening before common ground was finally reached.
“We are parents who need to feed and pay school fees for our children,” said an irate builder who only identified himself as Peter.
“We have become a burden at the places we rent. It was not our intention to hold her against her will but her false promises have forced us to do so.”
Another builder only identified as Ishmael, said the workers endured a bleak Christmas as they only received “$300 rand” each for two months’ work.
When the Daily News crew arrived at the scene, the workers were milling outside the estate.
Bvukwe, however, denied that she had been detained by the workers.
“As you can see, I’m not being held hostage,” she said.
“I can walk out and come in as and when I feel like it. If I was being held against my will, I would have called the police by now.”
One builder said Bvukwe had earlier made an attempt to remove the workers from the gate.
“She pretended to send one of her close friends to the cops who came back with the report that the police were going to arrest us for kidnapping if we didn’t move from the gate,” the builder said.
On how much she owed workers, she said: “I do not owe anyone anything. Did you see their contracts to establish that claim?”
But when the Daily News attempted to interview the builders to ascertain if indeed they were owed any money, Bvukwe tried to block the paper.
“I don’t think it’s proper to walk into a company and talk to that company’s employees,” she protested.