Sifiso Zulu guilty over crash

2010-04-23 00:00

DURBAN socialite and businessman Prince Sifiso Zulu was found guilty on culpable homicide charges that relate to the deaths of two students who were killed in a hit-and-run accident involving his 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 charges relate to a hit-and-run accident 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 March 29, 2008. The bakkie was carrying members from the Soul’s Harbour Church.

Mangosuthu University of Technology students Hlengiwe Dlamini and Sidumisile Mncube were killed in the accident. The driver of the BMW fled the scene.

Dressed in black pants and a cream shirt, Zulu chatted with his lawyer and court officials before the proceedings began. He did not have his usual entourage of bodyguards with him.

Several friends of Zulu, including Durban businessman Erwin Ullbricht, sat among family members of the deceased and the congregation of the Soul’s Harbour Church and listened intently to court proceedings.

Passing judgment, magistrate Thomas Nhleko said the court has heard that Zulu told police he was in Musgrave at the time of the incident and, since he had been drinking, took a taxi to his home in Mahatma Gandhi Street.

Several hours later, Zulu went to Durban Central police station where he made a statement

A policeman, who was called as a state witness, said Zulu’s speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and he had scratches on his hands.

Nhleko said he was impressed with the way all the state witnesses corroborated each other’s stories and were “forthright” with their answers.

He pointed out Captain Shane Spilsbury’s evidence, which described one of the men from the BMW X5 wearing khaki clothes. Zulu was wearing khaki trousers when he arrived at the police station.

Nhleko said the court found it a strong coincidence that a person wearing khaki pants was seen running from the BMW X5 and that Zulu was seen wearing khaki pants.

“The evidence points to the accused being the driver of the vehicle,” he said.

The magistrate said that there were several contradictions in the defence’s arguments, but did not point them out.

Nhleko also said defence witness Mduduzi Xulu was a poor witness.

“He had a lot of contradictions in his testimony and was very evasive at times. The evidence shows that he is a liar,” he said.

When Nhleko handed down the guilty verdict, Zulu looked down and shrugged.

The matter has been adjourned until May 31 for sentencing.

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