Zenani Mandela crash: Claim cops fled

2012-04-16 22:34
Johannesburg - Police "ran away" from the accident scene that claimed the life of Nelson Mandela's great grand-daughter at the start of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

Johannesburg metro police officer Henry Miller said during cross-examination he was left almost alone at the scene in the early hours of June 11.

He was testifying in the culpable homicide trial of the car's driver Sizwe Mankazana, who had been driving 13-year-old Zenani home from the Soccer World Cup concert at Orlando Stadium.

Miller was the accident scene investigator and photographer, and his job was to establish the cause of the crash.

Responding to questions by defence counsel Kenny Oldwage, who wanted to know why police did not impound the car, Miller said neither the city nor the police had the capacity to tow in and keep a smashed car for further investigation.

It was then that he said police "ran away" from the accident scene on realising that a Mandela child had died.

At one point he phoned a superior to tell him what was happening, he told the court.

Miller said Mankazana's father arranged for the car to be removed and stored at a venue of his choice. Miller did not see it again.

He said the court should not rule out mechanical failure as the cause of the accident as, for instance, the accelerator could have become stuck as Mankazana negotiated the bends.

During cross-examination, Oldwage accused Miller of adjusting his testimony.

An experienced accident investigator, he testified that the car hit a concrete side barrier, crossed two lanes and hit a steel barrier on the other side of the road. It hit another steel barrier and then a lamppost.

He said he came to these conclusions based on scratch marks on the concrete wall, damage to the steel barricades and tyre marks on the road.

He described how he found the barrier ripped from its bolts. It had been dragged behind the out-of-control luxury car. The barrier penetrated the car on the back right hand side.

The accident happened on the M1 North just before the double-decker section, where the speed limit was 80km/h, said Miller.

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 were Mankazana's parents.

The trial continues.

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