Victoria Falls woman blames mental illness for theft

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A Victoria Falls woman accused of stealing $1 811 from her employer has claimed that she was suffering from mental illness at the time the alleged offence was committed.

BY Ruth Ngwenya

Sidunyisiwe Mazalwayedwa (33), employed by Wilderness Safaris, pleaded not guilty to theft charges when she appeared before magistrate Sharon Rosemani last week.

According to prosecutors, Mazalayedwa was on May 2 last year given $5 000 to pay tour guides. She was employed as an adventure and travel co-ordinator.

However, on May 23 the same year she stopped reporting for work.

On May 30, the company’s general manager for tours and safaris, Moses Nyamasuka and Morton Leza, visited Mazalayedwa’s residency to ask her about the missing money and her failure to report for work.

She failed to give a satisfactory answer and a subsequent audit by the company’s financial manager Shammer Ramochoa revealed that $1 811 of the money could not be accounted for.

Mazalayedwa was accused of converting the money to personal use, leading to her arrest.

Her lawyer Elvis Mashindi of Mashindi and Associates said she was a psychiatric patient at Ingutsheni Central Hospital and had suffered from a bipolar disorder since 2004.

“Her condition had relapsed in March and therefore was incapable of appreciating the nature of her conduct,” Mashindi said in Mzalayedwa’s defence outline.

“Sometime in May 2014, she was attended to by a psychiatrist nurse at Victoria Falls Hospital and at Premier Services Medical Investments.

“It is during this time that the alleged offence was committed.”

The trial will continue on April 20.