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MBABANE – The inquest into the death of Luciano Zavale has concluded that he died due to the alleged conduct of the investigating officers.

The officers are Detective Constable Nhlanhla Nkambule and Detective Constable Ndumiso Myeni, who were based in Manzini in 2015 when the Mozambican man died. Former Hhohho Principal Magistrate Nondumiso Simelane, who is now the Ombudsman at Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), was appointed the coroner in the inquest into Zavale’s death after he died under questionable circumstances. The Mozambican ran a barber shop business at the Enterprise Building. At the time of his death, he was being investigated for purchasing an ASUS tablet from Sifiso Nzimandze, who had stolen it from an American Peace Corp member, Taroi Hopkins at the Manzini Bus Rank in June 2015. In her conclusion, Simelane said; “I am satisfied that reasonable grounds do exist for suspecting that the death of Luciano Reginaldo Zavale was caused by the criminal act and/or culpable or negligent conduct of the two investigating constables, being 6432 D/Constable Nhlanhla Nkambule and 5709 D/Constable Ndumiso Myeni.”

Simelane said she referred the matter to the director of public prosecutions (DPP) who, subject to Section 9 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act No.67 of 1938, shall take such action on it as he deems fit. According to the coroner, it was clear from the evidence that when Zavale died, he was allegedly in the custody of members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service, in particular the two detective constables, Myeni and Nkambule. “What is again very clear and not in doubt is that such death was caused by the deprivation of air into the lungs (respiratory distress) through the outer orifices, being the mouth and nose.


“What, however, could not be determined is how or by what means such respiratory distress was caused hence the medical practitioner’s conclusion that the cause of death is ‘undetermined.” said Simelane. These allegations are contained in the report of the inquest into the circumstances surrounding or involving the death of Zavale on June 12, 2015, whose veracity will be tested should the DPP act on the coroner’s recommendations. When Zavale died, the police took him to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) Hospital where they informed nurses that his body had been discovered by members of the public along the road at Coates Valley. In her report, Simelane stated that Myeni and Nkambule refused to give evidence before the coroner at the proceedings of the public inquest.



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