By Lisa Mangena
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has pleaded not guilty in a case in which it is facing charges of allegedly causing the death of an eight-year-old boy who drowned last year in a pit that was allegedly dug by council employees.
Council is being represented by Engineer Simela Dube and council lawyer Mr Norman Mangena of Coghlan and Welsh Legal Practitioners.
Through its lawyer, the municipality appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Mr Stephen Ndlovu facing a charge of culpable homicide in connection with the death of Freedom Gorimbo and pleaded not guilty.
Mr Mangena produced a map and said the pit in Pumula East suburb where the now deceased fell into and drowned was not dug by the city council.
“The map l produced shows the land that the council owns and the area where the pit the now deceased fell into was not dug by council and therefore it cannot be held responsible.
“Also the deceased’s father has no proof to show that he saw the city council’s employees digging the pit thus council is denying these allegations,” he said.
The prosecutor, Mr Tony Kamudyariwa, said in 1995, the city council extracted gravel in Pumula East suburb for road construction and repairs.
“The pit was left open and no warning sign or fence was put to ensure the safety of the public. During the rainy season, the pit would capture water. On February 19 last year, Freedom Gorimbo, who was eight, was swimming in the pit at around 6PM and accidentally drowned,” he said.
Freedom’s body was retrieved from the pool by the council’s Fire Brigade, the court heard. A minor boy who testified said on the said day, he went to the pit with his elder brother and the now deceased.
“I jumped into the water first and my brother followed. After a while Freedom jumped in too and as we got out we realised he had drowned. We called elders to help us get him out,” he said.
The body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospital mortuary where a post mortem was carried out, the court heard. Postmortem results showed that the minor died due to asphyxia and drowning.
The matter continues on June 6. The Chronicle