Prince Sifiso skips SA

2011-10-05 00:00

DURBAN businessman and former president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce Prince Sifiso Zulu (35) is believed to be in Dubai after his defence counsel failed to appeal against his convictions and effective three-year jail sentence on Thursday.

Although Zulu’s whereabouts are to be confirmed by his advocate today, a spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal department of public prosecutions, Natasha Ramkisson, and the investigating officer believe he has absconded.

When two judges entered the high court in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, there were nearly 500 pages of the trial proceedings on record, but they were told by state counsel advocate Johan du Toit that Zulu’s counsel was not present.

Du Toit said last week that he had faxed the date of the appeal to Zulu’s counsel.

Judge Piet Koen ordered that Zulu’s appeal be struck from the roll because of his failure to appear and because no heads of argument were filed for him.

The Durban magistrate’s clerk of the criminal court issued an order for his surrender, but it could not be served as he had gone.

Zulu was found guilty in April last year of culpable homicide charges that related to the deaths of two students of Mangosuthu University of Technology, Hlengiwe Dlamini and Sidumisile Mncube.

The two were killed in a hit-and-run accident in March 29, 2008, involving Zulu’s vehicle.

Zulu was also found guilty of reckless and negligent driving, speeding, driving an unregistered vehicle and driving with number plates that were false.

The hit-and-run accident happened when Zulu’s BMW X5 failed to stop at a traffic light on Masabalala Yengwa Avenue (NMR Avenue) and crashed into a bakkie with 12 people on board. Ten people were injured during the accident.

The bakkie was carrying members of the Soul’s Harbour Church. It was reported that Zulu contacted his friend, Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele, to tell him that one of his vehicles was in an accident. Cele was the KZN MEC for Transport and Community Safety Liaison at the time.

The driver of the BMW fled the scene.

Zulu was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and fined R7 500 in connection with the accident.

His driver’s licence was withdrawn.

Convicting Zulu last year, Durban regional magistrate Thomas Nhleko said a non-custodial sentence was not suitable and he imposed a five-year jail term, of which three years were conditionally suspended.

Throughout the trial Zulu vehemently and persistently denied that he was the driver on that night.

Several reports about his controversial lifestyle followed the accident.

In 2008, in an attempt to evade arrest, he apparently tried to take his life by stabbing himself before jumping from the balcony of his second-floor flat in Durban. At the time Brigadier Phindile Radebe said police had to break into the flat after Zulu refused to let them in.

They had come to arrest him on a charge of trying to obstruct justice.

Zulu’s estate was placed under provisional sequestration by the high court in Durban in March last year after he had failed to submit affidavits in a legal battle with Ithala Development Finance Corporation.

Ithala had applied to the high court for the sequestration of Zulu’s estate after he allegedly failed to settle a debt of almost R5 million.

Zulu was born in Durban in 1974 and it was reported that he said he is the son of Prince Banda, King Goodwill Zwelithini’s cousin, but this was denied by the royal household.

Royal household spokesperson Mbonisi Zulu said the name Banda was not in the royal family tree.

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