TWO Zesa employees were rushed to hospital after a Neighbourhood Watch Committee member from Bulawayo allegedly assaulted them with a big stick, accusing them of being copper cable thieves.
Bloodwell Nyawo (29) allegedly set upon Mr Edgar Tshuma (57) and Ms Zibusiso Dube (38) when he found them attending to a fault in Woodville suburb on July 31.
Nyawo pleaded not guilty to assault before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya who remanded him in custody to today for commencement of trial.
He told the court that elders in his community had instructed him to “discipline” anyone he saw stealing electricity cables in the area.
Nyawo produced a letter to support his claim.
“I do not understand why l’m being arrested for doing what the authorities told me to do,” said Nyawo.
Prosecuting, Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo said: “On July 31 around 3:45AM at Woodville Park suburb, Mr Tshuma and his work mates received a call from their control room notifying them that the Woodville power line had been tripped off.
“Mr Tshuma proceeded to Woodville with his workmates Ms Zibusiso Dube and Mr Victor Nkala where they discovered that overhead copper cables had been cut.
“After a few minutes, Nyawo and Luke Ncube, a Woodville resident, arrived at the scene. Nyawo started assaulting Tshuma with a log all over the body accusing him of being a thief”.
Ms Dube said Nyawo refused to believe that they were Zesa employees.
“When l saw him hitting Tshuma, I got out of the vehicle trying to convince him that we were from Zesa and not thieves. He did not listen. Instead he hit me with his log on both my knees then ordered me to lie down and surrender my cell phone to him,” said Ms Dube.
Tshuma, the court heard, was armed with a pistol.
Ms Dube said Mr Nkala managed to grab the gun and fired two shots in the air, ordering Nyawo to stop assaulting his workmates.
“Nyawo was not moved and instead assaulted both of us with his log until Nkala fled with the gun,” she said.
After Nyawo assaulted Ms Dube and Mr Tshuma, he led them to their vehicle where he searched for copper cables but found nothing.
The prosecutor said Mr Tshuma called the police and an ambulance in Nyawo’s presence.
He said the police took Nyawo with them while the ambulance rushed Mr Tshuma and Ms Dube to hospital.
The court heard that Tshuma sustained injuries and was admitted to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).