Mandoza: ‘Fatal crash all my fault’

2008-12-08 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Africans should take responsibility for their actions. That is why he pleaded guilty to two charges of culpable homicide yesterday, said kwaito star Mandoza.

In March this year Mandoza caused an accident in Johannesburg in which two men, Charles Shabalala (39) of Yeoville and Felix Thebe (38) of Berea, were killed.

Magistrate Delize Smith yesterday handed down a 48-month jail sentence, suspended for five years, to Mandoza (born Mduduzi Tshabalala) in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court. He was ordered to pay the men’s families R10 000 for funeral expenses, R3 500 a month to Shabalala’s wife Gloria and their two children and R1 500 to Thebe’s mother Margaret.

Eyewitnesses alleged that Mandoza was drunk, but the police did not test his blood alcohol level because he was on a drip.

Mandoza admitted in court that he was negligent when he crashed his Chrysler Crossfire into the back of a VW Jetta on the N1 highway.

“Even if I wasn’t going too fast — 120 km/h — it was dark and I should have made sure it was safe before overtaking a vehicle.”

Mandoza said he was driving in the right-hand lane, but moved over to the centre lane because of a slow car in front of him. This is where he hit the Jetta.

“When I came to, my car was in the left-hand lane and theirs was lying upside down on the centre island. “

I realised only later that there were two occupants and both were dead. I was taken to hospital in an ambulance.”

During sentencing, Smith said Mandoza showed true remorse about his negligence.

“Nevertheless, no remorse or money will bring back the deceased and you have to appreciate the consequences of your actions and be punished for them.”

Mandoza stopped Thebe’s mother outside the court and they embraced.

He told reporters, “While the pain is still there … I have closure at last. As Africans we should have empathy with one another. That is why I went to speak to them afterwards.”

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