Chihuri succumbs to pressure

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Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri yesterday succumbed to pressure from the courts and ordered the release of a vehicle belonging to a South African national held at Inyathi Police Station in Matabeleland North.

Chihuri’s climbdown came before the hearing of an application for him to be charged with contempt that was scheduled to be heard by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Misheck Cheda in the morning.

On being informed of the new development, Justice Cheda postponed the hearing to this morning.

Diedrick Jacobus Coetzer through his lawyer, Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners, had filed the suit asking the higher court to compel Chihuri to facilitate the release of his car.

The vehicle had been held by the police since early this year as part of Coetzer’s bail conditions in a case where he was accused of working at Waterwitch Mine in Inyathi without a work permit since November last year.

However, the State later withdrew the charges, prompting the courts to order the release of Coetzer’s vehicle.Police had reportedly ignored the order to release the vehicle, prompting the South African to sue Chihuri.

Coetzer wanted the police chief to be found in contempt of court and fined $5 000 which he said should be paid from Chihuri’s own pocket.

In terms of the application, if Chihuri remained defiant, the Deputy Sheriff would be asked to give effect to the order.

A court order granting the release of Coetzer’s vehicle was first granted by a magistrate on January 31, but nothing was done.

On February 9, there was a consent order at the High Court in which Chihuri would provide police officers from outside Matabeleland North to assist Coetzer recover the car.

But when the vehicle had still not been released, the application for contempt was filed on Monday.
The car had not been released at the time of going to Press.