VICTORIA FALLS — Soccer legend and former Warriors captain Peter Ndlovu yesterday broke down in court as he denied responsibility for the road accident that killed his elder brother Adam last year.
Report by Richard Muponde
Peter is facing culpable homicide charges and his trial opened yesterday before Victoria Falls magistrate Archibald Dingana.
The fatal accident which involved Peter’s BMWX5 vehicle occurred at the 417km peg along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road on December 16, with the soccer legend behind the wheel.
Another passenger, Nomqhele Tshili, also died in the crash.
The State alleges Peter failed to negotiate a curve and lost control of the vehicle, resulting in the accident.
Tshili died on the spot while Adam died on his way to Victoria Falls Hospital.
Peter’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo told the court that his client did not cause the fatal accident. He blamed it on a tyre burst.
“Adam drove the vehicle to Hwange and he (Peter) was sleeping and it could not be said he was fatigued,” Nkomo said.
“He says he was not driving at an excessive speed, but between 90 and 110 kilometres per hour. He says he heard a loud bang and immediately the car jumped off the road. The vehicle did not hit
the first tree, but bruised it and went on to hit another two.
“After that, Peter called out his brother’s name and he (Adam) assured him he would be okay. He again called the lady (Tshili), but there was no response. The accused will say the accident happened as a result of a tyre burst.”
The State, represented by Namatai Ngwasha, then called in the investigating officer, Constable Victor Mavunga of Victoria Falls, who disputed Peter’s claims of a tyre burst.
Mavunga told the court that after conducting investigations, he had concluded the accident was a result of negligence and speed.
“There was no evidence of a tyre burst because tyre marks were visible on the tree the vehicle first hit before it subsequently hit two others,” he said.
Under cross-examination by Nkomo, it was shown that Mavunga had given two conflicting statements which did not tally with the evidence-in-chief he gave in court yesterday under oath.
In one of the written statements, Mavunga said he instituted investigations on December 16, the day of the accident, and in the other he said on the 18th, two days after the tragedy.
Mavunga also conceded that he drew the accident scene sketch plan without Peter’s indications and that these were made by another policeman, whom he identified as Constable Nsingo, who arrived at the scene soon after the accident.
Peter’s lawyer revealed that the vehicle tyres which were taken for forensic examination were of different makes which made him suspect that there were not from the soccer legend’s vehicle.
According to a forensic report compiled by David Zuze, part of which was read in court, he received a Hankuk tyre and a Continental tyre, but Peter’s vehicle had Hankuk tyres all round.
Nkomo went on to accuse the police of doing a shoddy job and rushing the matter which made them appear as if they were not taking the issue seriously or that they were driven by some sinister motive.
“Do you take this matter seriously?” the lawyer queried. “Do you know Peter and Adam? Peter came after Adam in terms of their birth.
They went to Mzilikazi High School together. They went on to play for Highlanders Juniors together. They played for Highlanders (seniors) Football Club and the national team, the Warriors, together. This shows these were close brothers. Officer, you did a shoddy job. Peter expects you as an officer to do a thorough job before pointing a criminal finger at him.”
At that point, Peter broke down again.
The trial continues today when the State is expected to call in more witnesses.
Three witnesses have been lined up to testify, including former Victoria Falls traffic section police officer-in-charge, only identified in court as Inspector Kawanza.