Umgcugcuteli treated injured heist suspect
MBABANE – A homebased care worker, commonly known as umgcugcuteli, yesterday confessed to having treated one of the Riverstone Mall heist suspects who was injured during the shootout.
A Cash Security Services guard, William Tsabedze, was murdered in the course of the heist, last week Monday but managed to fire his weapon.
The home carer told The Times she did not know that the person she was treating, who happened to be her close neighbour, had been injured during the robbery.
Instead, she was given a fabricated story that the suspect had been injured by a piece of wood that pierced the sole of his foot during a fight over a woman.
The suspect, according to the woman, had been injured underneath one of his feet, which she attended to without suspicion.
She said she was fetched by one of the suspect’s relatives to come and dress his wound because she was known to be an umgcugcuteli.
"This issue really pains me a lot because I didn’t know what had happened. I didn’t know I was treating someone who’d been involved in such a bad thing," the woman, looking distraught, said.
Asked how she attended to the suspect’s injury, she replied: "I washed his wound, bandaged him and then gave him some Panados (painkillers)."
She said that was all she did and she then left for her homestead until the following day when she was visited by the police.
"The police told me I had to go to the Manzini Police Station and, when I asked them why, they said I would be told when I got there. When I got to the police station they asked me a lot of questions and they took down a statement," she narrated.
She said that was when she realised she had treated someone who had been involved in a robbery.
While still speaking to this reporter, a young man who said he was her son interjected and told her not to reveal more. "My mother told the police everything and if you want to get such information you should just go to the police. She said everything that had to be said," he insisted.
While the woman indicated her willingness to say more, the son stifled those attempts and told her she had said enough already.
That was when the woman relented and referred all further inquiries to the police. "That’s all I have to say. You will hear more from the police," she said and walked into her house.
Police PRO, Superintendent Wendy Hleta, cited protocol that barred her from speaking in such instances. "If this is a reality, we need to protect the individual so we request not to comment," Hleta said.
During the robbery, in which about E1 million was stolen, the injured suspect managed to escape on foot despite the gunshot wounds.
He fled into the Helemisi-Leites Manzini forest and one resident said he spotted him walking past the Jehovah’s Witness Church before a police search began. A sniffer dog that had to be fetched from Matsapha also failed to locate the suspect.
On Sunday, Police Commissioner, Isaac Magagula, said the identities of the robbers, some of who are allegedly foreigners, were now known and they would soon be apprehended.
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