In an interview with our reporter, Michael Godfrey Verengai, the Zimbabwean farm worker who was shot by his employer, Edgar Classin, said the farmer’s wife, Portia Classin, had warned him that if he went ahead and reported the matter to the police, he would no longer be accommodated at the farm and would only be given R400 as notice pay.
"I managed to go to the police to make a report after I was discharged from hospital but the police seem to be after a bribe because they opened a docket but did not register it, indicating that they would sit on it until I had negotiated with my boss and found an amicable solution.
Verengai said upon enquiring from the farmer’s wife if Edgar had made a report to the police since he had left for Britain, she indicated that he might not have reported the issue since they regarded it as an accident.
"The police told me that since I am an illegal immigrant and do not have the required documents, I was going to be deported or detained since I did not have a permanent address where the police can contact me should I be required to appear in court.
Verengai said on the Tuesday when he was shot, he and colleague, had woken up at 3.30 am to the sound of cattle straying from a nearby pen.
"My boss had recently bought some cattle, about seven, the cattle were not yet used to the place and they strayed from the pen at 3.30am in the morning, so we went out to try and stop them, but doing so was difficult as it was still dark, but before we could round up the cattle we decided to alert the farmer.
"We banged on his gate for almost thirty minutes, but he did not come out – he definitely heard the noises, after thirty minutes he came out and advanced towards us until he was about 10 metres away from us, we were standing on open ground – he asked who we were and we told him, but surprisingly he went on to shoot me in the right leg," Verengai said.
He said after he had been shot, the farmer drew nearer, only to apologise that he had made a mistake, afterwhich he took him to WaterVal Boven Hospital. He said when they got to the hospital, Edgar spoke to a nursing sister in Afrikaans and Verengai could not make out what they were saying. The nurse went on to tell him that they were going to help him.
"After that he left me at the hospital and reportedly went to the spot where he had shot me but never went to make a police report. After i reported the matter to the police, the farmer’s wife refused to accommodate me and offer medical assistance and now I am just struggling. On the day they took the bullet from my leg, I saw it with my own eyes and they put it in a small cup, and when I was about to be discharged and at the reception, the doctor asked the farmer’s wife come into his office to collect the bullet.
"When I asked her if they had given her the bullet, she said the doctor had said he could no longer find it. She took me to her farm where I spent the next few days resting until I had to go and have the stitches removed from the hospital. After a couple of days I approached her and told her I was thinking of making a police report but she told me that it was up to me and that if I went ahead she would no longer accommodate me or give me anything except R400 for the injury.
When contacted for comment, a police officer who refused to identify himself at WaterVal Boven Police Station, denied stalling on opening a docket, indicating that he was actually attending to Verengai at that moment.