Hit-and-drag driver can’t make bail

2011-09-23 00:00

BAIL of R5 000 was yesterday granted to the taxi driver whose vehicle allegedly dragged a Johannesburg woman several hundred metres last week.

However, by late yesterday Matome Thamage (30) was still in custody, as he could only raise R1 000. His lawyer, Eric Bryer, said Thamage earns about R500 a week. He is his family’s sole breadwinner and has two children.

Magistrate Vincent Pienaar wanted to delay his decision on bail until the end of the month in hopes of getting a statement from the victim, Kim McCusker. However, investigating officer Contable Naudé Mathe told the court he could not get a statement because McCusker is still critically ill.

Thamage faces charges of attempted murder and reckless and negligent driving after the incident, which followed a minor traffic collision between his taxi and a bakkie driven by McCusker’s fiancé, Lourens Grobler.

The court heard this week that Grobler was assaulting Thamage when the taxi driver drove off in panic, and didn’t see McCusker standing in front of his vehicle.

The investigation by Mathe has been criticised.

Under cross-examination he admitted that he did not use any instrument to measure the distance that McCusker was dragged under the taxi. He said the Johannesburg Metro Police and SA Police Service officers estimated the distance, which has been reported as 700 metres.

The Douglasdale community policing forum laid a formal complaint with the Metro police this week, alleging that they did not investigate the scene properly or interview eyewitnesses.

Grobler was this week arrested for assuault and malicious damage to property and released on bail of R5 000.

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