A Bulawayo magistrate, Friday, granted an appeal by 22 villagers under Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni who were serving community service sentences for destroying a fellow villager`s property.
The suspension is in response to an appeal against the sentence made by their lawyer Dumisani Dube before the Bulawayo High Court.
Chief Ndiweni and his subjects who were all facing malicious damage to property charges were each sentenced to 24 months in prison by magistrate Gladmore Mushowe last month.
Mushowe had ordered the 22 to perform 525 hours of community service while Chief Ndiweni was sentenced to an effective 18 months in jail.
Dube pleaded with the court to grant the suspension citing that the 22 are already halfway through serving their sentence and if they continue then the appeal would cease to be effective.
Bulawayo Magistrate Shepherd Munjanja said no prejudice would be caused by suspending the sentence since a significant part of it had already been served.
Meanwhile, Chief Ndiweni has since been freed on ZW$500 bail pending a similar appeal against magistrate Mushowe’s sentence.
According to State allegations, Fetti Mbele of Ntabazinduna was banished from the village by the chief after his wife Nonkangelo Mpengesi was allegedly caught having sex with another villager in 2017.
Chief Ndiweni ruled that Mbele’s wife should vacate her husband’s home, but she did not comply with the order since they had resolved the matter as a couple, prompting the chief to order the destruction of the couple’s fence and kraal.