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Homicide conviction for Joshua Nkomo guard killer

by Staff reporter
11 Nov 2019 at 06:31hrs | Views
AN unlicensed truck driver who ran over a security guard employed by the family of the late Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo as he attempted to flee after he was caught poaching sand at the family site, has escaped a custodial sentence.

Ngonidzashe Mutasa (27) of Old Pumula suburb fatally ran over Yowane Ngwenya (24) as he tried to flee after being caught stealing sand at Mqabuko Heights Gravel Site in Bulawayo in November 2016.

A neighbour discovered Ngwenya's body the following day at the scene of the incident and notified police.

 Mutasa, who was initially facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Ngwenya, was convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva.

He was sentenced to three years in jail of which one year was suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar offence.

The remaining two years were further suspended on condition that Mutasa performs 840 hours of community service at St Bernard High School in Pumula North. As part of the sentence, Mutasa was also banned from driving vehicles of any class for five years.

In passing the sentence, Justice Takuva said although the deceased was intoxicated when he threw boulders onto the road to block Mutasa's truck after he was caught poaching sand, the accused person was negligent.

"In aggravation, we note that a life was needlessly lost when the accused person drove a heavy vehicle without a driver's licence and ran over the deceased. The deceased died while protecting the site from sand poachers and in this case, the accused person knew that the site was a protected zone," said the judge.

Justice Takuva said Mutasa was a first offender who showed contrition after committing the offence by assisting the family of the deceased with funeral expenses.

"In casu, the accused person is a first offender who pleaded guilty to the offence and he should be rewarded for that. Such mitigation should receive serios consideration when passing sentence," he said.

"The accused person was youthful when he committed the offence and in this case youthfulness precipitated irrationality. Accused person should be given time to reflect and in the circumstances, a custodial sentence is inappropriate. However, the court marks its displeasure by passing a deterrent sentence for sand poachers out there."

Prosecuting, Mr Bruce Maphosa said on November 18, 2016 at about 8PM, Ngwenya who was from a beer drink, arrived at his workplace and found Mutasa illegally loading gravel onto his truck.

The court heard that Ngwenya, who was drunk and without a shirt, tried to apprehend Mutasa who was with his friends while they were trying to leave the site with the truck already in motion. Mutasa sensed danger, jumped into his truck and moved the vehicle.
"Mutasa started the engine and the now deceased tried to block the truck by placing stones on the road to block the vehicle," said Mr Maphosa.

When Ngwenya was about to pick another boulder that is when the accused person ran over him and sped off. The deceased was found dead the following morning and a report was made to the police leading to Mutasa's arrest.

Mutasa was represented by Mr Emmanuel Samundombe and Ms Patience Grace Dube of Samundombe and Partners.

Source - chronicle