Off the hook but ‘no cause for celebration’ – Mandela crash driver

2012-11-06 14:48

The case of culpable homocide and drunken driving – against the man behind the wheel of the car in which former president Nelson Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter was killed – has been dropped.

The Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court today discharged the case against Sizwe Mankazana, finding that the State’s evidence could not reasonably lead to his conviction on any of the charges.

Zenani Mandela was killed in a car accident while on the way back from the World Cup opening concert at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, in 2010.

The crash led to a devastated Madiba withdrawing from the World Cup opening ceremony.

Mankazana (25), who was driving the Mercedes-Benz in which Zenani and his cousin, Stacey-Lee Louters, were travelling, was subsequently charged with manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol, and reckless and negligent driving.

Mankazana pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

In a statement released by his attorneys earlier today, Mankazana said he was thankful that the trial had come to an end, but that today “was not a day of celebration”.

“Twenty-nine months ago, little Zeni was taken from us. Her family lost the light of their lives and I lost someone who I loved as a niece,” he said.

Mankazana’s father is the partner of Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, the former president’s daughter with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

In discharging the case, Magistrate Vivian Hawkins found that the most likely cause of the accident was mechanical failure in the Mercedes he was driving.

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