Barrier penetrated Mandela death car

By Drum Digital
17 April 2012

A steel barrier penetrated the rear right of the car in which former president Nelson Mandela's great-granddaughter Zenani Mandela died in 2010, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

Johannesburg metro police official Henry Miller, scene investigator and photographer, described how he found the barrier ripped from its bolts. It had been dragged behind the out-of-control luxury car.

Miller was giving evidence in the trial of Sizwe Mankazana, the driver behind the wheel on the night 13-year-old Zenani died.

Describing the accident scene, which took place on the M1 North just before the double-decker section, Miller said the speed limit in the area was 80km/h. He outlined how the car hit a concrete barrier on the left of the road, then swerved across two lanes and hit the steel barrier on the right. Mankazana was driving Zenani home from the Soccer World Cup concert at Orlando Stadium on June 11, 2010 when their car crashed.

On Monday members of the Mandela family including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, her daughters Zindzi and Zenani, and the child's mother Zoleka were in court, as was Mankazana's mother.

Miller said he had stopped the morning before the accident at the exact spot where the accident occurred a few hours later. He had noticed the steel barrier had been damaged and was very close to the white line.

He told the court he tried to bend the barrier back into place.

Eventually he used a length of cable to force it back by between 50cm and 70cm. In the early hours of the following morning he was back at the same spot, at the scene of the crash that claimed the child's life.

“In my opinion the steel barrier that penetrated the car was the same section that I had pushed back the previous morning.”

Miller said he spoke to the accused at the scene and found he was “from overseas” and unfamiliar with the road. That section of road was also tricky as there was an unexpected bend.

“It was also the World Cup,” he said.

The trial continues.

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