Mandela crash driver in court after Cup

2010-06-14 13:04

The man driving the car when Zenani Mandela died will appear in

court on July 26, two weeks after the Soccer World Cup had ended, the National

Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said today.

“He will appear in the Johannesburg magistrates court on July 26,”

said NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga.

Asked why it was taking so long to bring the case against Sizwe

Mankazana (23) to court, Mhaga said it was to give the police an opportunity to

investigate further.

Normally, a person must appear in court within 24 hours after an

arrest for drunken driving, according to the Automobile Association’s (AA’s)

legal resource centre.

Mhaga declined to comment on claims Mankazana was getting special

treatment because he was part of the Mandela family. Neither did he want to say

anything to comments that the NPA was trying to manage media coverage by letting

Mankazana appear only after the World Cup had ended on July 11, when most

foreign journalists had already left the country.

“Whatever decisions we take, they are above board,” Mhaga

said.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Govindsamy Mariemuthoo this morning

again said Mankazana would face drunken driving charges. “He is facing culpable

homicide and drunken driving charges.”

Asked why then he would not appear in court sooner, Mariemuthoo

said the police still needed to complete their investigation.

Quizzed on why the investigation was taking so long, Mariemuthoo

replied: “I cannot tell you exactly, piece-by-piece.”

The case against Mankazana was struck off the roll on Friday “for

further investigation“, said Mariemuthoo.

The AA legal resource centre said only a senior prosecutor could

decide to drop the charge if there was no sufficient evidence to support it. If

more evidence surfaced later, the charge could be reinstated, said the AA.

Court officials, who spoke to the media about the case on Friday,

said today they were no longer allowed to talk to the media.

Mhaga said the case would be dealt with by the normal courts, not

by courts dedicated to deal with World Cup offences.



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