The driver of a South African-registered haulage truck which sideswiped a Johannesburg-bound Proliner bus, killing 31 people and leaving 40 others injured in Mvuma four months ago, has been jailed for two years for culpable homicide.
By Stephen Chadenga
Regis Mangwari had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but later changed his plea when he appeared before Mvuma magistrate Tayengwa Chibanda, who convicted him on 31 counts of culpable homicide and negligent driving.
He will serve a one-year effective jail term after 12 months were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
Mangwari changed his plea to guilty after evidence obtained from the truck’s tracking system showed that the collision occurred when he attempted to overtake at a curve.
He had initially claimed that the truck’s steering wheel locked on approaching the 218km peg along the Harare-Masvingo Road, resulting in the accident.
Mangwari, a holder of a Zimbabwean driver’s licence, had his licence disc cancelled and was prohibited from driving for two years.
The court heard that on April 5, Mangwari negligently encroached into the opposite lane in a bid to overtake, and failed to control his vehicle, which side-swiped the bus, killing 31 people on the spot.
Both vehicles went up in flames on impact, resulting in some of the victims being burnt beyond recognition.
Bernard Nyoni prosecuted.