His current club, Royal Eagles, questioned the police’s motive in issuing a media statement when “they knew all this time where the player was”. Richard Makhoba, team manager at the National First Division club, was adamant the Bellville police were pulling a publicity stunt.
He said the club had last seen Zongo in late January and had been unable to reach him since police issued an arrest warrant for the soccer player. Makhoba said Zongo, who has a contract with the club until next year, had told Royal Eagles he had reached an agreement with the complainant and the charges had been dropped.
Makhoba said the club had contacted the police last year about Zongo’s whereabouts. At the time, he had been in Pietermaritzburg, where the club is based. Before that, Makhoba said, Bellville police had stormed their team bus in search of Zongo, who wasn’t there as he had been injured.
“We have to make it clear that we’re not protecting Zongo, but we are worried about (the police’s) code of conduct. We have co-operated with SAPS fully,” Makhoba said. “This has been handled very strangely.”
He added: “Had the police used state resources to get to us, they would have found Zongo a long time ago”. Makhoba said Zongo had played for Chippa United when the club was based in Cape Town, but they failed to arrest him then.
Provincial police spokeswoman Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said since Zongo’s first arrest in March 2013, he had failed to appear at the Parow Regional Court on November 30, 2015. “A warrant of arrest was authorised and since then the suspect has been evading arrest.
“The rape case is still pending and cannot be finalised without (Zongo’s) appearance in court,” Rwexana said. “The suspect moved from his known address and was circulated nationwide as a wanted person during July 2016.”