Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Accident Victims Turn On the Pressure On Overzealous Cops

FOUR people who were seriously injured when a Bulawayo police officer allegedly threw tyre shredding spikes at a speeding commuter omnibus last month have engaged lawyers and are demanding compensation from the police.

A total of 16 people were injured in the accident which happened along Khami Road.

The accident victims, Thandoyenkosi Nkomo, Nokuthula Mabhena, Esnath Phiri and Emmaculate Ndlovu are demanding compensation for the pain they have suffered, the time they have spent in hospital and payment of medical bills they have accrued.

Their legal representative, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) senior projects lawyer Lizwe Jamela yesterday said they had given the police a 14-day ultimatum to take responsibility for their negligence.

He said if nothing is done before the April 17 deadline, legal action would be taken against the police officers involved, the officer commanding Bulawayo Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Steven Mutamba, the Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri of the police and the Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi.

“What the police did was grossly negligent and the accident victims gly feel that they must be compensated for damages suffered. I believe there are other ways of enforcing traffic laws without endangering the lives of innocent commuters,” said Jamela.

“We have since dispatched a letter to the officer commanding Bulawayo province copied to Police Commissioner General and the Home Affairs Minister. The letter requests them to take responsibility for their actions by compensating the victims. If we do not receive a positive response in the next 14 days then we will have to take the matter to the courts.”

Jamela said by Friday last week, the four victims were in hospital, with some of them failing to pay for their treatment.

He said their lives and their families had been seriously affected by the injuries they sustained.

“They have also incurred huge medical bills. The victims sustained complicated injuries as some of them require skin grafting and operations that require a lot of money. On Friday, one of the victims was scheduled to go to theatre but she failed due to unavailability of the money.

“Some of the victims are bread winners in their families and it is obvious that their income was affected thereby exposing their families to untold suffering,” said Jamela.

He said the damages would be quantified by the courts if the State does not take responsibility.

“We cannot really come up with figures at the moment as the victims are still receiving treatment and their bills are rising everyday.

They will differ from one victim to the other depending on the degree of injuries.

“We will also look at the percentage of disability after treatment and other factors that may come up. I hope that we will get a positive response so that we do not take this matter to the courts,” said Jamela.

Mohadi and Snr Asst Comm Mutamba were not reachable for comment yesterday.

National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi referred all questions to Senior Assistant Commissioner Charamba, who was also not available for comment.

There was a public outcry after police allegedly spiked the kombi, causing it to overturn.

Members of the public joined hands with touts to throw missiles at the police officers on the scene.

Order was restored by riot police.

Bulawayo Police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo said spikes are never thrown at vehicles, but are used to control traffic at a roadblock.

The police have reportedly since banned the use of spikes on the road.

Source : New Zimbabwe