Midlands Bureau Chief
A Kwekwe security guard has been sentenced to one year in prison for shooting a suspected thief to death.
The deceased, Pearson Mazani (30), had reportedly stolen gold ore and was shot once in the head with a Vanguard rifle.
Francis Dhlamini (43) appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa, sitting at Gweru High Court Circuit last week.
He faced one count of murder.
Dhlamini, who was represented by Mr Brian Muzenda of Hire and Partners from Kwekwe, was convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide after a full trial.
Justice Kabasa sentenced him to 24 months in prison, before suspending 12 months on condition of good behaviour.
The State led by Prosecutor Mr Mandla Ndlovu said Dhlamini was negligent in the manner he fired his rifle.
Mr Ndlovu told the court that on December 29, 2014, at about midnight, Dhlamini’s victim, Mazani, was transporting bags of gold ore to Chimombe Gold Milling Plant in Shurugwi using his Ford Bantam vehicle.
Mazani was in the company of Mahlali Ngwenya, Devine Mahere and Beknown Sikonzile.
Along the way, they met Bekezela Kanye, a manager at Refuse Mine who he tried to stop them, but they drove off.
The court heard that Kanye started searching for Mazani and his colleagues and caught up with them at Chimombe Milling Plant.
He instructed them to drive to Refuse Mine but they refused.
Kanye proceeded to Refuse Mine where he requested for a security guard to assist him apprehend Mazani and his colleagues and drove back to the milling plant with Justin Mahwahwa and Dhlamini, who was armed with a Vanguard rifle.
On their way, they met Mazani and his colleagues and instructed them to get onto their truck so that they could go to the police to resolve the matter.
“The deceased made some movements as if he was getting into the vehicle that was being driven by Kanye but ran into the bush. Dhlamini shot Mazani once in the head and he fell down,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Mazani, the court heard, was ferried to Shurugwi District Hospital and later transferred to Parirenyatwa Hospital where he passed on.
The matter was reported to the police leading to Dhlamini’s arrest.