Missing taxi driver found dead

By Whinsley Masara

A taxi driver from Bulawayo who went missing after being carjacked and stabbed three times earlier this month, has been found dead in the Matopos area. Police confirmed that Witness Zindonda (32) of Luveve 4 suburb was one of six victims (taxi drivers) who were hired, stabbed and robbed by Thulani Msipha (22).

Pirate taxis known as Mushikashika
File picture of pirate taxis known as Mushikashika

He is suspected to have bled to death after Msipha attacked him.

Msipha targeted and robbed taxi drivers of their vehicles, valuables and money in Bulawayo.

On July 10, he appeared before Regional magistrate Mr Joseph Mabeza facing six counts of armed robbery and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

One of Zindonda’s relatives discovered his body at around 5PM on Monday in a bushy area near Makhanka Mine, about 400 metres off Old Gwanda Road, along Nugget Mine Road, Matopos.

He was reported missing on July 7. Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango confirmed the incident.

She said Zindonda, a Proline Taxis employee, left his home for work on July 4 and never returned.

“On July 5, his taxi, a blue Toyota Ist, registration number ACL 8064, was found dumped along Nugget Mine Road in Matopos with its windscreen damaged. Enquiries were made to ascertain his whereabouts to no avail. A missing persons report was made to police on July 7.

“On July 8, a suspect of several cases of robbery and carjacking was arrested. During investigations, a cellphone belonging to Zindonda was recovered on the suspect who then revealed that he had hired Zindonda with the intention of robbing him,” said Insp Simango.

She said the suspect confessed to stabbing Zindoda three times with a knife.

“The suspect said a bleeding Zindoda escaped into a nearby bush where he disappeared after locking his vehicle. The suspect broke the vehicle’s windscreen and stole a cellphone and $6,” Insp Simango said.

Zindonda’s relatives, who had been searching around the area where Msipha stabbed him, found his body in an advanced state of decomposition.

“A report was made to police who attended the scene. Zindonda was found with his car keys in his trousers’ pockets together with a small black and red cellphone. The body was conveyed to United Bulawayo Hospitals Mortuary for post mortem,” said Insp Simango.

The police spokesperson warned taxi drivers against carrying suspicious people especially at night.

“We are appealing to taxi drivers to inform their colleagues of their intended destinations when carrying suspicious passengers. They can even pass through a police station and register their destination,” she said.

Insp Simango urged motorists to install trackers on their vehicles to make it easy to locate them once they are stolen.

Earlier this month, a court heard how Msipha hired six taxi drivers on different occasions between June 8 and July 9.

Along the way, he would produce an okapi knife, take over the vehicle and demand cash from the drivers.

He stabbed three of his victims and as a result one of them lost an eye and the other one is battling for his life in hospital after he was stabbed on the shoulder and abdomen.

The third, Zindonda, has been found dead. The Chronicle