Nabbed: uMngeni boss on drunk driving rap

2008-08-03 00:00

UMNGENI municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi has been arrested for the second time on charges of drunk driving.

This time the arrest followed an accident in which his top-of-the-range maroon Mercedes Benz was written off after he crashed into the back of a truck on the N3 near Mooi River on Saturday morning. A Mooi River traffic officer said he smelt alcohol on Vilakazi.

UMNGENI municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi has been arrested for the second time on a charge of drunk driving.

This time the arrest followed an accident in which his top-of-the- range maroon Mercedes Benz was written off after he crashed into the back of a truck on the N3 near Mooi River Toll Plaza on Saturday morning.

Vilakazi was at Hidcote driving towards Howick when the accident occurred.

He escaped with a minor cut on his right hand.

One of the Mooi River traffic officers who attended the scene said he smelt alcohol on Vilakazi as he was being removed from his wrecked vehicle. He allegedly refused to comply when asked to take a breathalyser test.

“He was first put into an ambulance for a medical check-up. After that the police had to force him from the ambulance to the van as he was resisting the arrest. He was handcuffed as he was pushing and pulling the officers,” said the officer.

The officer said that while Vilakazi was being checked in the ambulance, he realised who he was.

“I first suspected that he might be a connected person after he requested that we call the Mooi River municipal manager. But the Mooi River municipal manager was not available on his phone,” said the officer.

As Vilakazi was driving on the southbound lane of the N3 he rammed into a truck and his car became wedged under the heavy- duty vehicle. When it was finally removed the whole bonnet was left stuck under the truck.

The officer said Vilakazi was taken to an Estcourt doctor to have his blood tested for alcohol. The officers allegedly decided against taking him to a Howick doctor, fearing he might interfere with the test results.

After the blood was drawn, he was detained at the Mooi River police station.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said Vilakazi, who was charged with drunk driving, was released on bail of R1 000 and will appear in the Mooi River Magistrate’s Court today.

In 2003, police caught Vilakazi allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. His case dragged on until 2007, and he was eventually acquitted after the court found he was not driving the night of the arrest. He claimed that his companion, who was believed to be under-age, was the driver.

uMngeni Mayor Edward Dladla said yesterday he was unaware of Vilakazi’s arrest.

When contacted yesterday afternoon, Vilakazi admitted that he was arrested and given R1 000 bail. He denied that the previous arrest and the later one are damaging his reputation.

“This won’t damage my reputation because I’m confident that I will win this case again,” said Vilakazi.

bhans@witness.co.za

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