THE body of a suspected Robert Sinyoka fish poacher was found floating at Khami Dam on Thursday last week after a relentless 12-day search.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga
Sources told Southern Eye police teams sent to search for the man were hampered by the cold weather conditions and fears of crocodiles in the over-spilling Khami Dam. The dam is a haven for anglers and poachers mostly from Robert Sinyoka, St Peters and Old Pumula.
Family members identified the man as Ryton Tshuma. The family had already been in grief, since his disappearance after he was suspected to have drowned two weeks ago at Khami Dam.
A relative, Sithabisile Nyoni, who said she was a daughter-in-law of the family, had told Southern Eye last Wednesday before Tshuma, body was recovered that he had left home for the dam to check his fishing nets.
Nyoni said it was the last time he was seen. Only his clothes and fishing nets were recovered at the site.
“Tshuma left home on Monday morning to check his fishing nets ,as usual,” Nyoni said. “His wife became worried when he did not return home by evening before she raised the alarm over his disappearance.”
Nyoni said the matter was reported to police the next day before a search was conducted, but the body was never found. She said the sub-aqua team was hesitant to dive into Khami Dam as they fearing for their safety.
Initially there were suspicions he could have been devoured by crocodiles.
Robert Sinyoka village headman Fortune Matewele told Southern Eye the incident that had befallen Tshuma was unfortunate.
“It is unfortunate because in the community people are struggling to make a living and fishing at the dam is the main alternative. It was so unfortunate that Tshuma drowned while he was trying to feed his family,” Matewele said.
Police sources at Pumula Police Station yesterday confirmed the recovery of a man’s body at the dam last Thursday.
They said he was found floating, but was in a bad state after having been in water for more than 12 days.
But contacted for comment on Thursday, Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo refused to comment on the matter, claiming he did not know the Southern Eye.
“I want an official letter from the editor with a list of names of reporters from the Southern Eye because right now I do not have the confirmation of who you are,” Moyo said.
“I cannot trust you especially towards elections because if I give you a comment, my bosses will ask what Southern Eye is and they will say they do not know it and then I will be in hot soup.”
But provincial police public relations officials pick copies of the Southern Eye at AMH offices daily!