The Civil Protection Unit (CPU) has released the names of 31 people who died in a horrific road accident that happened in Mvuma early this month.
The death toll has risen by 10 from the previously announced 21 following DNA tests.
A South Africa-bound Proliner Bus sideswiped with a haulage truck and caught fire at Nyamatikiti River near Chaka Business Centre in Chirumanzu on April 5.
DNA tests conducted by experts at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Applied Genetic Testing Centre (AGTC) revealed that apart from the previously announced 21 accident victims, eight more people were also burnt in the bus inferno while two others died while admitted to Driefontein Mission Hospital bringing the death toll to 31.
Midlands Provincial Administrator, Mr Abiot Marongwe, representing the CPU yesterday released the names of the victims.
He said the number of accident victims who died in the accident was arrived at using DNA tests as well as a list of passengers who were in the bus.
“The victims have been identified as Alexio Gundiza, Collen Zeze, Josey Matawu, Joel Ndipa, Patricia Wadii, John Chimhanda, Cardman Maturika, Annah Chigu, a Ms Sihle, Remigio Nyamatezwa, Vivian Makwiyana, Joseph Matimba, Theophelus Madzitire, Tawanda Zimuto, Lee Foya, Silas Shoko, Munashe Kawishi, Ruvarashe Kawishi, Viola Chimbudzi, a Ms Ropafadzo, Ivy Nyamande, Winnet Masussa, Tafadzwa Kurwara, Memory Ndlovu, Ida Njale, Zondani Makonza, Nyarai Warikandwa, James Makonese, Ruponeso Muchenje, Angeline Sibiya and Benjamin Kufira,” he said.
Mr Marongwe said 18 families whose relatives were positively identified have already taken the remains following the processing of burial orders and death certificates.
He said they were still waiting for the families of the other accident victims to come forward.
Mr Marongwe said a mass burial for three passengers whose remains could not be matched with their relatives had been planned.
“We have released the list of the accident victims and the passenger manifest. Eighty-one people were on the bus- 29 were burnt and two died at Driefontein hospital. We are suspecting that the three victims whose bodies couldn’t be ascertained are part of the remains that we have.
“Burial arrangements for the remains are being made. Those families whose relatives were positively identified have since collected the remains,” he said.
Mr Marongwe said relatives of the victims received State assisted burials and $700 from Government and the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ).
Police Officer Commanding Midlands Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Abigail Moyo told relatives who were collecting remains of their loved ones yesterday at Gweru Provincial hospital mortuary that the owners of the haulage truck which side-swiped with the bus had offered to compensate relatives of the accident victims.
Meanwhile, Regis Mangwari (29), who was driving the South African registered haulage truck that was headed for Harare carrying tyres, appeared before Mvuma resident Magistrate Mr Tayengwa Chibanda facing 21 counts of culpable homicide last Friday. He was not asked to plead and was remanded in custody to May 5.
Mr Chibanda said the trial will commence once the post-mortem reports and identification results of the burnt victims were released.
Prosecutor Mr Michael Kazomba told the court that on April 5, Mangwari was driving a Harare bound haulage truck from Johannesburg, South Africa.
He said on approaching the 218km peg along the Harare- Masvingo highway, his truck side-swiped the bus, resulting in the fatal accident.
Mr Kazomba said Mangwari acted negligently resulting in the loss of life.