Judgment date for Zanu PF official set

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LUPANE — A senior Zanu PF official in Matabeleland North accused of stealing two diesel-powered engines worth $7 600 last year will know his fate on March 29 when the Lupane Magistrates’ Court is expected to deliver its judgment.

The date was set after the accused, John Roberts Khumalo (58), the Zanu PF provincial legal affairs secretary, failed to bring witnesses to court yesterday and only submitted a document chronicling the problems that bedevilled the community project.

He is denying the charges and is out on $100 bail. Khumalo was expected to bring his defence witnesses to court on Friday last week but failed.

Instead, he only brought a document entitled, Year 2000 or the Devil Year, signed by him.

The document states that since 2000, critics claimed the project was a Zanu PF initiative and those who tried to protect it were labelled sellouts.

Khumalo said he personally reported the matter to the police but no arrests were made. He said the document was copied to the project executive committee members who he claimed had left for greener pastures, making it difficult for him to call them to attend the court case.

Khumalo said he suggested the engines could be loaned to Gomoza and Gwayi clinics and resettled farmers, but he later collected them.

On Friday, the State said it was considering re-opening the case in view of the document although Khumalo had completed giving his evidence -in-chief.

The State wanted to re-examine him using the document.

Khumalo told the court he tried to lend the alleged stolen engines to Matabeleland North governor Thokozile Mathuthu, provincial administrator Latiso Dlamini and Lupane district administrator Christopher Chuma, but all turned down his offer.