Court grants reopening of stocktheft case

BULAWAYO magistrate, Gladmore Mushove recently granted the Prosecutor-General (PG)’s Office an opportunity to re-open its case in a matter where three family members are being charged with stealing 38 cattle from their late brother’s wife.

BY SILAS NKALA

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The development followed an application by the State seeking to lead more evidence from its two other witnesses, which the police had previously indicated could not be located, prompting the State to prematurely close its case.

The Mthethwa suspects, Marvis (63), Florence (54) and Godswill (40), appeared before Mushove pleading not guilty to the charge and the matter proceeded to trial.

The State then closed its case after police in Esigodini wrote to the prosecution that the two witnesses, Qhubekani Ndlovu and a former police officer, one Constable Madumba, could not be located to give evidence in the matter.

However, prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa last week filed an application for the re-opening of the case after it emerged that the two witnesses were around and willing to testify.

Mutsindikwa told the court there was an inquiry in the police officers’ misconduct following the lies about the witnesses.

On Friday, Mushove ruled the case be re-opened and the two witnesses be called to testify.

She indicated that the testimony by the two witnesses would not only be in the State’s interests, but the suspects as well.

The trio is alleged to have stolen the beasts belonging to Chief Nhlanhla Ndiweni’ sister Lydia Mthethwa, whose husband Rejoice died.

Their brother, Jahamahle Mthethwa (65), who is alleged to have been part of the racket, is still at large, as he is resident in South Africa.

The suspects had opposed the application, arguing it was being made when they had already made an application for discharge at the close of the State’s
case.
The court heard on May 6, 2003, Rejoice died and Lydia registered his estate with the Master of the High Court, which comprised part of Khalanyoni Farm and Livestock, thereby assuming lawful ownership of the property.

This irked the Mthethwas, who allegedly connived to force Lydia to leave the estate to them and as a family, they agreed to take the cattle from the farm.

On October 29, 2013, it is alleged they went to the cattle kraal and drove away 38 cattle. They were seen by a security guard, one Ndlovu, who reported to Lydia.

The matter was reported to the police, leading to the trio’s arrest.

The value of the stolen cattle is $27 000 and nothing was recovered.

The matter was remanded to May 30.

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