Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa is now looking at the circumstances around the assault of a Zimbabwean cross-border bus driver by three police officers on Thursday last week at the toll gate just before Pretoria, allegedly when the driver refused to pay a R2 000 bribe.
Mr Raison Mufuka, a driver with Devine Star, was reportedly assaulted at the Hammanskraal tollgate when stopped, informed he had committed a traffic offence and invited to pay a bribe.
Other motorists took a video of the driver allegedly being beaten while handcuffed between the bus and the trailer.
Zimbabwe’s Consul-General to Johannesburg, Mrs Melody Chaurura, said they were still gathering facts on the ground pending further action.
“We have been made aware of the case and at this stage, we are still gathering the facts around the matter on the ground,” she said.
“This will guide us on our next course of action in line with the relevant communication channels.”
In an interview yesterday, Mr Mufuka said he had injuries on his mouth, both hands and was experiencing chest pains as a result of the beating.
“We were travelling towards Johannesburg when we were intercepted by traffic police soon after the Hammanskraal toll gate, just before Pretoria along the N1 highway around 8am on August 26,” he said.
“The bus had only five people including myself and the other four crew members. The police officers detained us for four hours at the roadblock.
“They accused me of violating traffic rules and demanded a bribe of R2 000, which I told them I did not have. The three police officers then threatened to impound the bus.”
Mr Mufuka said the police officers told him to drive the bus to the police station along with several motorists they had arrested.
Along the way, he said, the cops disappeared and he stopped the bus and parked by the roadside and got out.
He said three police officers returned and dragged him behind the bus where they handcuffed him between the trailer and the bus and took turns to assault him.
“I tried to plead with them to stop, but they ignored me and later bundled me into their vehicle with the bus crew,” said Mr Mufuka.
“We were taken to Themba Police Station in the same area and detained for four days, before being taken to court.
“To cover up for the assault, they falsely claimed I had assaulted one of them, was carrying border jumpers, and had failed to comply with traffic regulations. However, the charges did not stick at court and I was released.”
Mr Mufuka said three bus crew members who were accused of not having their passports stamped were fined R1 000 each and released.
He is still nursing the wounds and unable to go to work.
Efforts to get a comment from the Gauteng provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo, were in vain yesterday.