In an incident that left residents in Makokoba and Mzilikazi shocked, a man believed to have died was found drinking beer at a local bar in a case of mistaken identity.
It follows after schoolchildren discovered a body of a roughly middle-aged man inside the Mazayi River behind their school.
According to the Chronicle, police put the body in a coffin and recorded a statement from a teenager who identified himself as the deceased’s relative before taking it to his residence for further identification.
The police were assisted by Bulawayo Fire and Rescue Services, to retrieve the body which is said that the top half was inside the polluted and foul-smelling river.
Residents from Makokoba and Mzilikazi could not believe what they had just seen, with many saying that the area was no longer safe as it has become a hub for thugs.
Guided by the teenager, who believed that it was his uncle, who was last seen wearing a work suit similar to the dead man in the river. The body was taken to the family house which is just a few metres from the scene. Having seen the body, there were disagreements among family members with some saying it was their relative, Mr Arthur Davis (43) while others disagreed.
In a case of mistaken identity, after the police had taken the body for identification, it was discovered that the deceased was not Mr Davis as he was found alive with his friends at a local bottle store known as Jika Jika, much to his family’s jubilation.
“Ngiyamazi mina umalume” (I know my uncle), said one of the nieces who had refused to agree that the man lying inside the cops’ coffin was her uncle when others believed it was him.
After the discovery that Davis, who is a mechanic, was alive, the real identity of the deceased nor his place of residence is yet to be known with investigations underway.
Mazayi Bridge, which is a route that many use, has become a well-known dangerous road that has left residents scared of using it after sunset.
Residents are calling for action to be taken so that their daily route becomes safe for use. They are calling on the Bulawayo City Council to help them clear the bushes around.
“Every day I pass by this place from town and every time we see some boys (suspected thugs) standing there (Mazayi bridge). We appeal to the City Council to take action and clear the bush in this area because we might discover that he is not the only one who died here, maybe there are others in the bush, and it’s no longer safe here.
“The police should also try and patrol this area because we pass here late at night and we always see people standing there and maybe it’s people that we know because every time we pass, they move backwards and lean towards the bridge. We really appeal to the City Council and Police to take action,” said residents association’s chairperson, Ms Khethiwe Ngulube.
Another resident, Patrick Nyathi shared similar sentiments with Ngulube, stating that he is also a victim of an attack in that area. He added that he also hopes that law enforcement will make the area safe for the public.