Mayor’s guards in N3 crash

2014-05-15 00:00

UMGUNGUNDLOVU District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee’s bodyguards are again in the spotlight after they were involved in an accident on the N3 on Monday morning that left one person dead.

Andile Samuel Phungula (27) was killed when a Mercedes-Benz driven by Mayor Bhamjee’s bodyguards ploughed into his stationary vehicle, a Fiat Uno, that had broken down next to the fast lane on the N3 near Shongweni.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed the incident and said a case of culpable homicide is being investigated by Hillcrest SAPS.

“Circumstances surrounding the incident are still being investigated. No arrests have been made. The deceased is from Highflats [Hlokozi] but was staying in Inchanga,” he said.

Last year, bodyguards attached to Bhamjee were involved in a shooting incident on the N3. They allegedly shot at a motorist who failed to move out of the way of their speeding convoy.

Zwane was unable to say whether the same bodyguards were involved in Monday’s accident.

Khanyisani Phungula, Andile’s brother, said they were still waiting for the police to tell them who was driving the car that hit Andile’s car, killing him.

“The police said they would call, I am still waiting,” he said.

Speaking of his brother’s death, he said his family had accepted the loss and were grateful that both of them were not in the car at the time. He said Andile had bought the car for him, and seldom drove it.

On Sunday night he received a call from his brother, saying the car had broken down near Shongweni.

On Monday morning, Khanyisani and an acquaintance drove several times along the freeway looking for him and the car but did not find him.

“My acquaintance needed to go back to work and we decided I would keep trying him on the phone. I called him but there was no answer, but immediately after that I received a call from the police asking me about the car,” said Khanyisani.

He said police told him to rush to the Hillcrest police station and the mortuary because the person who had been in the car at the time had been killed.

“It was now late on Monday. When we got to the police station they said we should look at the car first but when we got there the owner of the breakdown had already closed and the mortuary had closed so we had to come back on Tuesday morning.”

On Tuesday they found that it was indeed his car and that his brother had been killed.

“When I saw him, I just lost my mind.”

He said they queried how the accident could have happened as the car had broken down. “He had put the warning signs out. We saw that the car had been hit from behind.”

Phungula said they were still trying to locate the friend who was with his brother when the car broke down.

S’bu Khuzwayo, municipal manager at the district municipality, said the municipality has also launched its own internal investigation, through the Fleet Management Entity, to get to the bottom of the matter.

“We have since established contact today with the deceased’s family and arrangements are being made for the mayor to commiserate with the family.”

He was unable to confirm if the bodyguards involved in Monday’s accident were the same two bodyguards involved in the previous incident.

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