Date set for Chirumhanzu horror crash driver's trial

HARARE - The trial of a driver of a South Africa-registered haulage truck that crashed with a bus at Nyamatikiti River near Chaka in Chirumhanzu on April 5, killing dozens of passengers, will commence on Thursday.

Regis Mungwari, 29 — a driver of Transmech Logistics, a South Africa-registered haulage truck — has been charged with culpable homicide.

His new indictment contains 31 counts.

The death toll rose by 10 from the previously announced 21 following DNA tests.

Mungwari will stand trial at Mvuma Magistrates’ Courts before resident magistrate Tayengwa Chibanda.

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

Mungwari was driving to Harare when the vehicles sideswiped and both burst into flames because of the impact, according to a copy of the court papers.

The State prosecutor said Mungwari acted negligently, resulting in the loss of life.

Most of the victims were “burnt beyond recognition”.

The South Africa-bound Proliner 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 first appeared before Mvuma Magistrate’s Court last month. He was denied bail and taken to Whawha Remand Prison.

Mungwari has remained in jail since his arrest.

In denying him bail, the magistrate concurred with the State prosecutor who argued that 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.

Mungwari refused to disclose his contact details and residential address to police.

As a South African truck driver, to grant him bail, the court said it 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 218 km peg, Mungwari allegedly encroached on the path of the oncoming bus.

The officer commanding national traffic, Senior Assistant Commissioner Felistus Chikowore Mjanga and the officer commanding Midlands Province Snr Asst Comm Abigail Moyo attended to the scene of the accident and will testify in the trial.

Authorities have said the identification process carried out revealed that 31 people were killed in the accident.

Identifying some victims was so difficult, according to government pathologist Tsungai Javangwe. However, all the 31 deceased were formally identified.

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