By Nyaradzo Bakari
A motorist from Cowdray Park suburb in Bulawayo has appeared in court for allegedly killing a man in a hit and run car accident last year.
Tongai Mativhu (40) allegedly hit the deceased, Thabani Msimanga, a former Bulawayo City Council security guard, in September last year as he was driving while drunk.
Mativhu pleaded not guilty to charges of capable homicide, failure to stop after an accident and failure to report an accident to the police before Western Commonage magistrate Ms Tancy Dube.
Ms Dube remanded him to September 18 for continuation of trial.
A State witness, Mr Nkosana Moyo, who is Mativhu’s former employee, said he overheard Mativhu and his brother talking about the accident.
Mativhu is alleged to have said he had been very drunk at the time of the accident and could not remember what he had hit.
He said Mativhu reported for work with his car windscreen broken on September 10 last year.
“He had been drinking with his friends at work on the previous day and he came late the next day, with his car windscreen damaged. He was with his brother whom he told he had been involved in an accident and thought he had hit a cart and it turned to hit the windscreen,” said Mr Moyo.
“As they were talking, his brother checked the car and realised there was human hair on the windscreen and the accused started panicking, saying that he was in trouble if he had hit someone.”
Mr Moyo said Mativhu called people to fix the windscreen two days later and asked him not to tell anyone about the windscreen replacement.
He told the court that Mativhu told police officers who came to investigate the matter that his friend, only identified as Mswahili, was driving that night as they were heading to his house.
The court heard that Mswahili is now in South Africa, where he resides.
During cross examination of the witness, Mativhu, through his lawyer Mr Simba Mawere, said Mr Moyo was fabricating the story to get back at his former employer who allegedly owes him money in unpaid salaries.
“You must have a fruitful sense of imagination Mr Moyo to fabricate all this. I put it to you that you fabricated this story to get back at my client for the money you claim is owed to you,” said Mr Mawere.
Prosecuting, Mr Tony Kamudyariwa said Mativhu failed to control his vehicle and it veered of the road and hit Msimanga from behind.
“On September 9, 2016, the accused was driving a VW Polo along Percy Ibboston Road due north. On that night, the deceased was cycling on the edge of the road due north and was putting on a green reflector jacket,” said Mr Kamudyariwa.
“A few metres from Cowdray Park railway level crossing, the accused lost control and his vehicle veered off the road to the edge, where it hit Msimanga from behind.”
Mr Kamudyariwa said Msimanga sustained head injuries and was taken to Mpilo Central Hospital where he died a few minutes after he was admitted.
The court heard that the matter was reported to the police by another motorist who witnessed the accident and took Mativhu’s car registration number.
Mativhu was arrested when a police officer who was driving spotted Mativhu’s car and followed him before arresting him.
Mr Kamudyariwa said the damaged windscreen was recovered and it would be produced in court as evidence.The Chronicle