BULAWAYO City Council’s electro-mechanical engineer Mente Ndlovu appeared in court on Tuesday charged with culpable homicide after he allegedly caused the death of a social soccer player, Shepherd Mgcini Mpala, through electrocution.
BY SILAS NKALA
The fatal incident occurred at a tower light close to Induba football pitch at Iminyela in Bulawayo on December 5, 2015.
Ndlovu (58) who was represented by Norman Mangena pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before Bulawayo senior magistrate Gladmore Mushowe.
Prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa opened the State case by calling two State witnesses, Nkosilathi Maphosa, a teammate to the deceased, and a senior ambulance technician, Jobe Mathe.
In his testimony Maphosa said on the day in question he was among the people who were at the soccer match at Induba grounds when Mpala went off the pitch to sit on a slab under the tower light.
He said Mpala removed his boots and he saw him being kicked by another colleague while holding an electric cable and thought they were playing.
In his evidence, which was contradictory, he also said he was called by a coach who told them that Mpala had been electrocuted.
When further questioned by the defence lawyer, he said he was surprised how Mpala got electrocuted by the same cables as in most cases children play and climb on the tower light without being electrocuted.
Mathe also said on the day he received a call advising him to attend to an electrocution that happened at Induba grounds.
“I went to the place and I found people gathered. They told me that the young man had been electrocuted,” Mathe said.
“I examined him and discovered he was not breathing. I checked for his pulse and checked if he was responding to pain stimuli and discovered he was not. I notified the police.”
During cross-examination by Mangena, Mathe said he was told by witnesses that Mpala had been electrocuted and indicated in his report that he had a query on that because his discovery was that he only had a black spot on the right hand, but there were no current marks on any other part of the body.
“I checked for the entry point and exit point and only saw a black spot on his right hand, but did not see an exit point. It was not clear to me if he was electrocuted,” Mathe said.
“In most cases when one is electrocuted, say on the left hand the current will exit through another part of the body, for instance through the foot and you will see an opening. But in this case I did not see any exit.”
He said in his 12 years attending to such cases he would even, before checking the body, see that one would have been electrocuted.
“Many victims of electrocution that I have attended to have visible signs of electrocution, even their clothes get burnt,” Mathe said.
“If I was not told that he was electrocuted I would have assumed that he suffered heart failure since he was playing football.”
Mathe said even the people told him that they were surprised how Mpala got electrocuted at a place where children would climb the tower light and swing using the same cable.