A KOMBI driver and a conductor as well as a woman from Bulawayo who allegedly assaulted a police officer on duty and smashed his mobile phone have appeared in court.
Thembani Moyo (41), Xola Sibanda (24) both of Makokoba suburb and Lungisani Mguni (41) of Mpopoma suburb allegedly attacked Constable Speaky Goteka last month.
The court heard that Moyo, the driver, and Mguni his conductor were loading passengers along 3rd Street in Makokoba suburb on April 12 at around 1PM in violation of Covid-19 containment measures.
Const Goteka and his colleagues, Samson Munsaka and Restern Mukumbiri both stationed at Mzilikazi Police Station, attempted to arrest the duo for illegally operating a Toyota Hiace registration number AEU 4744 which is not registered under the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO) franchise as required by law.
The police officers ordered passengers to disembark from the vehicle as they wanted to impound it. This irked Moyo and Mguni and they disembarked leaving no one inside.
A mob gathered at the scene and started throwing stones at the police officers.
Sensing danger, two of the police officers jumped into the kombi and one of them drove it to Mzilikazi Police Station.
Const Goteka fled on foot but Moyo and Mguni who were joined by Sibanda pursued and caught up with him and started assaulting him. Sibanda also severely bashed him.
Moyo allegedly took the cop’s Itel P36 Lite phone worth more than $10 000 and smashed it on the road. A Good Samaritan, Raymond Gutai of Makokoba suburb saved Const Goteka from further attack and hid him in his house.
The complainant sustained a swollen forehead and some bruises on both hands and he was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital.
The three suspects were later arrested.
Yesterday the trio denied venturing into the city offering transport services without exemption, assault and malicious damage to property charges before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Shepherd Mnjanja.
The commuter omnibus driver said the complainant knew him as an illegal kombi operator but on that particular day he was not pirating.
He said he was approached by police officers as he was parking his vehicle at a nearby house where he was attending a funeral service in Makokoba suburb and they demanded a bribe.
Moyo said when the gathered mourners heard that police officers were demanding a bribe as they were mourning their loved one, they ran amok and started assaulting the complainant.
Mr Mnjanja remanded them out of custody to May 24.
Prosecuting, Mr Nhlalwenhle Dube prosecuted.
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