Veil of secrecy over ‘blue light’ crash

2008-05-25 00:00

A veil of secrecy was drawn over a crash on the N3 on Saturday that involved a provincial MEC’s VIP bodyguard.

The accident, near Camperdown, left one man seriously injured.

The driver was on his way to pick up Welfare MEC Meshack Hadebe, his spokesman confirmed.

It is not clear whether the driver, who was travelling alone, used blue lights, as reported in a Sunday paper. The guard was estimated to have reached a speed of about 200 km/h.

Alan Norman, who claims to have seen everything, said the VIP driver did not have his blue light on.

However, the VIP driver was forced to reveal that he was a member of the SAPS, after two bikers he was trying to overtake gave him a “good beating” for the accident.

According to Norman, the VIP driver was driving a Mazda 6 at about 200 km/h in the fast lane, when he tried to overtake the bikers in front of him.

“The bikers must have been doing about 160 km/h, but he was right on their a**. When they wouldn’t move, he tried to overtake from the left hand side into the middle lane. But he couldn’t go into the middle lane because of a truck there; he landed on the back of a Fiat Siena, going up the off-ramp into the Lion Park area,” said Norman.

The angry bikers are alleged to have pulled the VIP driver out the car wreckage and punched him. “They were swearing away at him and all he said was he was using a company car,” he said.

According to Norman, when the bikers tried to hit the driver again, he told them he was a member of the VIP Protection Unit and threatened to have them arrested.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed that the vehicle belongs to the SAPS VIP unit, but neither he nor regional spokesman Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu would reveal the name of the driver. “No names can be released at this stage. The matter is being investigated,” said Budhram.

A Witness investigation early yesterday established that Welfare MEC Meshack Hadebe is the only official whose bodyguards use a fleet of Mazda 6 MPS sedans.

Late yesterday afternoon, Budhram called and confirmed that the driver is a VIP bodyguard and that the car is assigned to Hadebe.

The Witness was able to contact department spokesman Mandla Ngema, who said the guard was on duty and on his way to the MEC’s home at Waterfall to take him to a department function at kwaXimba, near Camperdown.

According to Budhram, a case of crimen injuria has been opened against the bikers, while a case of reckless and negligent driving will also be investigated.

A Witness reporter recently won a major media award for a series of stories on the behaviour of blue light convoys, which sparked public outrage early last year.

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