Rats eat savings…Man loses mind burns house, attempts suicide

Michelle Moyo

A 20-YEAR-OLD Bulawayo man who had allegedly been saving money in tins at his home, went berserk when he opened his “banks” to find scraps as rats had eaten the money while some of it had been corroded by rust.

Philip Sibanda from Pumula South allegedly crumpled mentally and set his room on fire in a suspected suicide bid on 12 February.

He was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital with severe burns after co-tenants rescued him.

Friends told B-Metro, he had been living frugally for some time claiming he was saving money for a “big thing.” 

Sibanda had been saving the money since last year and had been throwing R100, US$10 and US$20 notes but it could not be ascertained how much he had accumulated.

He is said to have told friends he had avoided checking on his money regularly to avoid temptation to spend it. 

“Imagine the overwhelming despair when he finally opened his piggy bank and saw scraps of torn bank notes, rusted and useless money with rat droppings…” said a neighbour who asked not to be named.

Paramedics attend to Philip Sibanda

Tsungirirai Ranganai, Sibanda’s co-tenant, said he had been telling people close to him that he was depressed after finding his money gone.

Yesterday,’’ he came home drunk begging for $5 so that he could buy a plate of food at the shops. Midnight that’s when he came back, making noise.’’

‘’I woke up around 2am going to the toilet and decided to pass by Philip’s room and check on his condition, he said he was feeling okay but thought he was having a severe bout influenza. I advised him to drink warm water.

She said she went to sleep.

“I was awakened by Philip shouting ‘Vukani Sokusile! Phumani phandle!’ (Wake up it’s now morning! Go outside! At the top of his voice,” she said.

The money tin

Ranganai sent her son to check what was happening, only to find that Sibanda had set fire to the house.

It was around 5 am. 

Ranganai’s husband — Mazanhi Gumi — said Sibanda who was engulfed in flames told him he wanted to kill himself.

“I beat out the flames and Philip fled from the house but he was already badly burnt on his back and other crucial parts of the body. I got burns on my back while rescuing him. 

“The neighbours called the police, fire brigade, and a Bulawayo City Council ambulance to assist the victim to get medical attention” he said.

The landlord who was only identified as Mr Nicodema, who is related to Sibanda, said he was informed about the incident and rushed to assess the damage.

‘’I came hours ago only to find out that about three doors at my house have been destroyed and that includes  my bedroom and dining room,” he said.

Sibanda is said to be still in hospital.


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