Truck driver indicted in fatal Chirumhanzu crash

HARARE - The driver of a South Africa-registered haulage truck that crashed with a bus at Nyamatikiti River near Chaka in Chirumhanzu, killing dozens of passengers, was charged with culpable homicide in an indictment unsealed on Friday.

The indictment contained 20 counts of vehicular homicide against Regis Mungwari, 29, who was driving to Harare, according to court papers.

At least 20 people were killed after the haulage truck reportedly sideswiped the bus and caught fire on Wednesday last week, with most of the victims “burnt beyond recognition”.

The South Africa-bound bus had over 60 passengers on board, while the truck was laden with tyres.

At least 15 passengers managed to escape through the windows, witnesses said.

Mungwari appeared before the Mvuma Magistrates’ Courts last Friday. He was denied bail and taken to Whawha Remand Prison.  He was remanded in custody to April 20.

In denying him bail, the magistrate concurred with the State prosecutor who argued Mungwari was not a proper candidate for bail considering that he did not have a fixed address in Zimbabwe, he was employed in South Africa and was a potential flight risk, and that he could commit suicide.

As a South African truck driver, to grant him bail, the court would be required to legalise his residency status while he awaits trial, the court noted.

Authorities have said he was speeding on a winding road and on approaching the 218km peg, Mungwari allegedly encroached onto the path of the oncoming bus.

The bus and the haulage truck sideswiped and both vehicles caught fire.

The charge of vehicular manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The officer commanding national traffic, Felistus Chikowore Mjanga and the officer commanding Midlands Province Abigail Moyo attended to the scene of the accident.

Authorities have said that the identification process is being carried out one family at a time, as it is a moment of intense pain it can take very long.

Identifying some victims was so difficult that additional DNA testing was required, according to government pathologist Tsungai Javangwe. However, by late yesterday, none had been formally identified.

Comments (2)

To be honest its unfair to blame the driver for the accident, the state of the road is just so bad that certain sectors are not fit to be in a farm road let alone a highway. I recently travelled that road during the day and what a pathetic experience. At one sector the road is bumpy for 10 or so meters the next there is a pot hole and to make it worse some sectors have not shoulders and any slight movement ends up bigger vehicles pick up dust from the verges of the road. Therefore it is strongly recommended before passing sentence the Judge considers the very unusual dangerous circumstances that face drivers on this death trap, farm road of a highway. I am not protecting careless drivers but merely stating facts facing road users of the Masvingo road

KAMBIRI - 12 April 2017

please to ease these accidents government must speed up the expansion of of this death trap of the so called highway of ours. am i wrong i thought ndakanzwa that that dualization would begin in march now we are in april where are they

mukuruvambwa - 12 April 2017

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