A BULAWAYO taxi driver was recently hired by criminals, who assaulted him, stuffed sand in his mouth and eyes before striping him of his shirt and robbing him of some cash and mobile phones.
Bulawayo magistrate Singandu Jele heard this on Tuesday when Onias Ncube (24) from Cowdray Park appeared before him facing charges of robbing Godfrey Dzinorehondo.
Ncube denied the charge, but the magistrate convicted and sentenced him to 18 months in jail.
Five months of the sentence were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
One month was suspended on condition he paid back the taxi driver $95.
In his statement to the police, Dzinorehondo said Ncube and his accomplice, who is still at large, undressed him during the robbery and left him in trousers.
In his testimony in court, he said they ordered him to stop after picking them up and they dragged him for a distance, before taking his money and cellphone and pouring sand in his mouth and eyes.
He said while they were still dragging him, he managed to escape from their grip and ran to the city centre where his brother stays.
Prosecutor Munyonga Kuvarega told the court that on November 12 at 3:40am, Dzinorehondo was in the city centre when Ncube and his accomplice approached him and hired him to transport them to Kumalo.
When they got to Suburbs, the accused asked him to drop them off. The taxi driver complied and stopped the vehicle.
Ncube and his unknown accomplice got out of the car and pulled Dzinorehondo out of the taxi. They produced a knife and threatened him before demanding all the cash he had.
They began to search him and took $35 and a cellphone.
They also took the shirt he was wearing and shoes.
Dzinorehondo managed to escape and ran to Bulawayo Polytechnic, where his brother stays, and when they returned to the scene, they found the car still parked while the accused had left.
The taxi driver identified Ncube at a parade at Bulawayo Central Police Station.