The story of a Lupane man who was supposedly mortally bitten by a snake in a 49-meter-deep pit took a new turnaround amid allegations that he fell to his death in the pit after a rope he was using broke .
It seems that the snake never existed and may have been created to cover up the fall.
The Bulawayo Fire Brigade has since revealed that it took too long to recover the body, mainly because the victim's family was refusing to let him out of the narrow bottom of the pit.
"They said they suspected a crime in the death of their relative Sandile Mguni (25). They feared that if we used hooks we could damage the body and destroy the evidence of the true cause of death, "said Bulawayo fire chief Richard Peterson.
He said that when the family finally gave permission on Friday; the body was recovered within minutes.
"We hooked the clothes and the body was not damaged," he said.
The owner of the well, Mr. Glen Moyo, from the village of Mkarabuli, under the command of Chief Mabhikwa, hired Jacob Ndlovu to rehabilitate him.
Ndlovu popularly known as Ndosi subcontracted the late Sikhwehle Village and Mr. Bhekani Nyoni to do the work.
On Wednesday, November 14, Mguni entered the pit using a rope with the help of Mr. Ndlovu and Mr. Nyoni.
According to previous reports, while Mguni, better known as Mgunyana in his village, was inside the well, Ndlovu and Nyoni heard him shouting that he had been bitten by a snake.
Mguni's body was removed last Wednesday by Hwange Colliery Company rescue workers and Bulawayo Fire Brigade using hooks eight days after the fatal incident. They used spotlights on the bottom of the pit, whose diameter is less than a meter and hooked the pair of Mguni's jeans shorts before pulling his body out.
The body was still intact, with injuries to the head and shoulder, the Chronicle was told.
There are allegations that Mr. Ndlovu has devised a plan to conceal the accident and invented the history of the snake to prevent a possible arrest by negligence.
The allegations are that Ndlovu promised to give a cow to Mr. Nyoni to buy his silence.
A news crew visited the area on Friday a few hours after Mguni's funeral and spoke to the two families.
The burial site allegedly almost turned into a war zone because of a post-mortem report that was not made public.
Efforts to speak to Ndlovu and Nyoni were unsuccessful, as the two now reside at the Gomoza Police Base for security reasons due to the tense atmosphere in their area of origin.
The news crew also visited the police base and saw the duo busy with household chores.
Both famous families of Mguni and Moyo said that the story of the snake was a cover-up, because no one saw it. "We started drilling the well in 1996 and finished in 2000. We hardly used it and wanted to clean it. We drained all the water and paid $ 30 to Ndoi to inspect the well and find out why the water level was low and he said there was cement in the bottom, "Moyo said on his property.
Moyo said that Ndlovu and his team told him about the sound of a snake in the pit.
He said days before the tragedy the trio boiled a drum filled with water and poured into the pit in an attempt to kill the snake.
"We had just had tea with the three of us when I went to check my asses and my wife called me to run back. Ndosi said there was an accident. He said he heard Mguni moan in the well and suddenly he was quiet, "Moyo recounted.
"No one else saw the snake around the well before and after the incident. Since then, we've filled the pit with debris. "
His son, Mr. Sambulo Moyo, said they were ready to hire the Mguni family, who wants compensation.
Mguni's uncle, Luka Mguni, said the family wants compensation.
"They told us the story of the snake that no one else saw. The post-mortem says he had injuries to the collarbone and head, which suggests he fell and we are unhappy because of the fabricated report they gave us. We did not bring the post-mortem because the police wanted him to be investigated, "Mguni said without stating how much the family wanted as compensation.
Mr. Mguni said false claims of a snake in the well-scared saviors who could have saved Sandile's life.