The four South African drivers who are detained in Zimbabwe after allegedly dumping three trucks at First Lady Grace Mugabe’s orphanage in Harare early this year, yesterday begged the court to let them return home.
They said life in Zimbabwe had become unbearable especially as they were not employed and could not make ends meet.
The men — Cassim Jee Bilal, Henry Radebe, Samuel Risimati Baloyi and Sydney Masito Sekgobela — yesterday pleaded with Harare magistrate Shane Kubonera not to postpone their trial to August 29 as proposed by the
“No, it is not fair to keep us here in Zimbabwe for a long time. I have told the court before that I have a very sick wife in hospital (in South Africa), waiting to undergo a heart transplant,” said Bilal.
“Every time we come here (to court) the case is postponed. Please if the court could consider we have been in Zimbabwe for five months seven days now and it hasn’t been an easy stay . . . I have pointed out that I can leave my car which is worth R300 000,” he added.
The drivers are being held in the country until Ping Sung Hsieh, a South African businessman who is alleged to have received $1 million from businesswoman Olga Bungu, is extradited from South Africa to appear in the courts in Zimbabwe.
In an affidavit tabled in court by defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa yesterday, Hsieh’s lawyer Clifford Edward Alexander, who is in South Africa, said it could take up to four years before the businessman could be extradited.
“In my experience, an appeal, especially in view of the nature of the court rolls in South Africa, can take anything between a minimum of one year to one-and-a-half years to be heard,” reads the affidavit.
“There is a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal which can be taken. This would entail a further 18 months upwards from that date for the matter to be heard. If there are any matters of a constitutional nature, then a further appeal can be heard in the Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa,” said Alexander.
The South Africans are expected back in court on August 2.