Kudzai Chikiwa, Chronicle Reporter
A Good Samaritan on Wednesday retrieved over US$100 000 and three pistols which he handed over to a security company whose cash-in-transit vehicle had been involved in a fatal accident near Lupane.
Three Safeguard officials were transporting the money from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo when the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree while trying to avoid hitting cattle. One of the guards died on the spot while two others were seriously injured.
One of the injured was rushed to St Luke’s Hospital in Lupane while the other was ferried to the United Bulawayo Hospitals for treatment.
A security source said over US$100 000 was being transported to Bulawayo when the accident occurred.
The money could have easily fallen into wrong hands, but Mr Mlondolozi Mpofu, who witnessed the accident while driving to work in Hwange, stopped and retrieved the cash and weapons.
Mr Mpofu first helped those who were trapped in the security company’s vehicle.
“I was on my way to Hwange after the Lupane 80 sign post when l witnessed the accident. The driver was trying to avoid cattle and he lost control. He swerved left and right. I went there to save lives because l could see that the other security officer was trapped in the car while the other one was thrown out of the vehicle,” he said.
Mr Mpofu said after retrieving the trapped security officer, he realised that there was a cash box and thought of keeping it safe together with three pistols that were scattered in the bush.
“I saw a cash box and thought it wise to keep it safe because l knew that people would come and target it as it is known that such vehicles carry large sums of money,” he said.
Mr Mpofu said he alerted the police and surrendered the firearms but withheld the cash as he wanted to hand it over to safeguard officials to avoid the money changing many hands.
He said when he called the company to alert officials about the accident, he was surprised that he was first asked if the money was safe not the fate of the people who were involved in the accident.
Mr Mpofu said some people who later attended the scene came searching for the money as they knew that the vehicle might have been carrying a lot of money.
“However, l had already secured the money and l made sure that it was safe. That’s why l made sure that l handed it to the hands of Safeguard officers,” he said.
Mr Mpofu said although he had chances to get away with the money since he was the first to arrive on the scene, he valued saving life and being honest.
“The most important thing was to save other people’s lives before thinking of money. Secondly, I was groomed in a family set-up where honesty is our core value. I gain nothing by stealing other people’s money.
Whatever I did was out of humanity and I regret none of my actions. I thank God that the two guys survived. However, I am sorry that we couldn’t save the one who died on the spot,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Safeguard Bulawayo branch could not comment about the accident referring this publication to their Cash in Transit (CIT) Department.
“I heard of the accident but I am not in a position to comment on that or give any detail because I am not authorised. However, try calling the CIT department tomorrow, they can give you finer details. Today they are out of office,” said one of the officials.
Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese could not be reached for [email protected]