Accused in cow saga set free

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Andrew Dzambukeri, the Mpumalanga man who was accused of tying his employee to a cow that dragged and kicked him all over his body, is off the hook.

The Mhala magistrate's court found him not guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm on Wednesday.

Dzambukeri, of Songeni village near Thulamahashe, appeared before magistrate Moses Mhlanga.

This was after the victim, July Mathumbu, and his mother, Flora Mathumbu, gave contradictory statements in court.

Mathumbu, whose statement to the police was that Dzambukeri tied him to a cow that dragged him through the village on August 27, changed his tune and said he had actually been influenced to implicate Dzambukeri.

He said he had instead been assaulted by a policeman. But his mother, who alleged Dzambukeri also pistol-whipped her son, maintained the accused did tie Mathumbu to the cow.

Mhlanga said it was the duty of the court to convict guilty suspects. As it was make sure the guilty version was only arrived at in the absence of any doubt that the accused had indeed committed the offence.

"Contradictory statements leave the court with no option but to acquit the accused, who is now entitled to a benefit of doubt due to the contradiction," said Mhlanga.

Mathumbu had claimed in a sworn police statement that Dzambukeri tied his legs, arms and neck to the cow horns with a rope before assaulting him with a sjambok for "spreading dangerous rumours" about him in the village.

He received medical treatment at the Tintswalo Hospital in Acornhoek on his neighbour, Lybon Mabasa, taking him there the following morning.

Dzambukeri has always maintained his innocence, saying Mathumbu had lost his teeth during a fight with another man, and that he was not kicked by a cow.