Driver had no licence

2013-11-05 00:00

THE surviving driver of one of the two vehicles involved in the Nongoma accident that claimed eight lives, doesn’t have a driver’s licence.

Among the dead were four teenagers from the same school.

The fact that the suspect, who is approximately 22 years old, does not have a licence was confirmed by the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) through a search of national traffic management system e-Natis.

The accident occurred on Saturday evening when the suspect, whose name is known to The Witness, driving a Ford sedan with three passengers collided with a stationary Nissan bakkie, carrying seven passengers, four of whom were high school pupils, on the P49/1 between Vryheid and Nongoma.

All seven of the bakkie’s occupants died. They were returning from a wedding. Only the driver and one of his passengers, who sustained serious injuries and was rushed to Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, survived.

After initially fleeing the scene in the ensuing chaos as emergency services arrived, the suspect, who escaped relatively unscathed, allegedly booked himself into a local hospital under a pseudonym.

Hlobane police station commander Captain Johannes Mncwango said a manhunt was launched on Sunday to look for the male suspect in his twenties. “Once he realised there was nowhere for him to go he contacted us and we arrested him. The issue surrounding him not having a licence will form part of the investigation. He is in custody and will most likely appear before the Vryheid Magistrate’s Court [today],” said Mncwango.

He said he and the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu met earlier yesterday and visited several of the victims’ families. He said a funeral date had yet to be decided.

“If the suspect is charged he could either face eight charges of culpable homicide or eight charges of murder. I have been in communication with Mr Mchunu on this matter,” said Mncwango.

According to a statement by Mchunu’s office, the Ford hit the Nissan, which was parked on the side of the road with a punctured wheel.

“As the driver and other passengers were busy changing the wheel, a red Ford Safire crashed into the back of the Nissan, scattering passengers across the road,” said the statement.

Mchunu said the four school pupils were from Shongololo Combined School in Coronation, Vryheid.

‎“We are all very saddened by this accident which has claimed eight lives, including children. We will await the full report to establish the cause and come up with solutions and measures to ensure that similar accidents do not occur on this road in future,” said Mchunu.

The names of the deceased are:

1. Joseph Bethewell Zulu (49)

2. Phokubi Zulu (age unknown)

3. Mngeniseni Nkosi (20)

4. Nokhuthula Dlongolo (17)

5. Themba Khumalo (15)

6. Andile Masondo (16)

7. Siyabonga Zulu (19)

8. Bheki Dlamini (33).

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