By Patrick Chitumba
The driver of the South Africa-registered haulage truck, which side-swiped a Johannesburg-bound Proliner bus, killing 31 people on the spot and injuring 40 near Mvuma in April, has pleaded guilty.
Regis Mangwari, who had been pleading not guilty since the commencement of his trial two months ago, on Friday told Mvuma resident magistrate Mr Tayengwa Chibanda that he was now pleading guilty.
He was remanded in custody to Friday this week for sentencing.
“I am changing my plea to guilty,” said Mangwari in court.
Since Mangwari had been pleading not guilty, the State had brought in four witnesses.
In his evidence prior to the change of plea, Proliner bus driver Mr Tawanda Maoneke told the court that on approaching the 218 kilometre peg along Masvingo-Harare Highway, he saw lights of a vehicle that were in his lane.
“I drove the bus to the left to avoid a head-on collusion, but the lights of this vehicle in front of me kept on following me until our vehicles side-swiped,” he said.
Police accident evaluator Constable Gibson Botsa said Mangwari was accelerating when the accident happened.
“If the steering wheel had locked like what the accused has been saying, we should have seen a jack-knife of the horse and trailer, at the same time if the steering wheel had locked, the driver should have applied brakes, but there are no skid marks at the accident scene.”
The prosecutor Mr Bernard Nyoni said on April 5, Mangwari was driving a Harare-bound haulage truck from Johannesburg.
The truck was laden with tyres and had South African registration numbers.
Mr Nyoni said on approaching the 218-km peg along the Harare-Masvingo Highway, his truck side-swiped the Proliner bus, killing 31 people.
The court heard that Mangwari acted negligently, resulting in loss of life. The Herald