Case opened against MEC's driver

2011-11-09 15:27
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Blue light incident

A News24 user sent us these pictures from the accident scene where a matric pupil was knocked down - allegedly by the official vehicle of a Gauteng MEC.

Johannesburg - A case of reckless or negligent driving has been opened against the driver of Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi's official vehicle, provincial police said on Wednesday.

"He was not arrested... and we are investigating. He may be issued with a warrant of arrest to appear in court," Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said.

"A warrant of arrest is not standard procedure for an accident."

Mmemezi's vehicle, a white BMW X5, knocked a teenager off his motorbike in Krugersdorp on the West Rand at the weekend. Thomas Ferreira, 18, had been driving to Randfontein to visit his girlfriend when the accident happened.

Eyewitness Lizanne van Wyk told Beeld newspaper that the BMW skipped a traffic light.

Critical condition


"We were in the turning lane and there was a taxi on our left. The guy in the BMW overtook the taxi on the yellow line. He jumped the red robot," she was quoted as saying.

"He had no sirens, but he did have flashing blue lights. Then I just heard a crash."

Ferreira was in a critical condition in hospital with swelling and haemorrhaging of the brain, and fractures of the arm, leg and face.

Mmemezi and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane visited Ferreira's home in Krugersdorp on Tuesday to offer support to his family. She agreed to help with his medical costs and anything else needed for his recovery.

The Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday that Mokonyane needed to take responsibility for the use of blue lights by her officials.

Laws

"The DA have successfully banned the use of blue light convoys in the Western Cape and Premier Mokonyane must do the same in Gauteng," provincial DA safety spokesperson Kate Lorimer said.

"Mokonyane's defence of the use of blue lights is completely unacceptable."

Lorimer said in terms of the National Road Traffic Act, vehicles being used for civil protection had to abide by certain laws. The vehicle had to be driven with "due regard to the safety of other traffic" and also use blue lights and sirens for the duration of the trip.

She said witnesses had reportedly seen blue lights flashing only when the car bypassed a taxi and went through a red robot.

"Feeble excuses about [being on the way to] a supposed emergency meeting are not good enough," Lorimer said.
- SAPA
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