‘Zulu can’t buy his way out’

2012-05-11 00:00

IF DURBAN businessman Sifiso ­Zulu thinks that offering money to the people he injured and the families of those he killed in an accident in 2008 will end his legal travails, he is wrong, say his victims.

They intend to launch a civil suit against him as soon as criminal proceedings against him are concluded.

Zulu’s lawyer, Lonwabo Dandala, has said that the businessman had offered to pay compensation to the victims of the accident.

However, the victims say they know nothing about such an offer.

Contacted yesterday to clarify the situation, Dandala laid the blame on Zulu’s previous legal representatives.

He said the lawyers had failed to “tie up the loose ends” when the compensation offer was made.

“Mr Zulu had made the offer and the families agreed to this. Even the pastor of the church the victims belonged to knows about it. What his previous legal representatives failed to do was to arrange for all the parties to sign affidavits and hand over the money. We’re planning to meet up with the families again and talk things through in the spirit of ubuntu,” said Dandala.

He said that if the families accepted an apology Zulu was willing to make, they would approach the authorities to consider implementing the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process, which is used for mediation among disputing parties.

Asked to name the errant lawyers, Dandala’s phone went dead and subsequent calls were not answered.

Dudu Ngema, who uses a walking stick since the accident, and Lindiwe Dlamini, whose sister Hlengiwe died in the accident, denied having been offered money and having accepted such an offer.

Ngema said she felt let down by the justice system, and that the affected families were considering a civil lawsuit against Zulu.

“The compensation and agreement they are talking about is news to me. I have a problem with this because Zulu never came to us and apologised. It is news to me that there was a monetary compensation offer from him.

“If he thinks that attaching monetary compensation to his apology will make this go away, then he’s got another think coming. Once this trial is over, we are filing a lawsuit against him,” she said.

Dlamini said she was also unaware of any compensation offer and had also not received an apology from Zulu.

“The church donated money for my sister’s funeral since our mother is a pensioner. Where was Zulu then? To tell the public that he offered us compensation is an insult to our family. He never set foot here at home. Every time the case goes to court, it opens old wounds. We feel like there are different laws for different people. If that was not the case, then how do you explain the length of this case?” she asked .

Pastor Phumlani Ndlovu, who heads the church the victims belong to, said he had no knowledge of a compensation offer from Zulu or his previous attorneys.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson said the ADR law applied only to matters heard in the lower courts for minor disputes.

“In this case, culpable homicide is not a minor issue and people’s lives were lost,” she said.

Zulu has applied for leave to appeal and his application will be heard by the high court in Pietermaritzburg next Friday, May 18.

• chris.ndaliso@witness.co.za

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