Lonehill taxi driver: I didn't know she was there

2015-04-10 15:06
Taxis. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Taxis. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg - The taxi driver who allegedly knocked over a woman and dragged her under his vehicle in Lonehill did not know she was there, he told the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Dressed in an old faded blue t-shirt, Matome Thamage took the stand where he testified in Sepedi.

Being led in his evidence in chief by Lulama Mqongosi, Thamaga admitted to have been driving recklessly and negligently on 13 September 2011 when the incident happened that left Kim McCusker in hospital for months.

"I drove negligently as I approached a stop sign," Thamaga said through an interpreter.

He explained that he had been in a right turn lane only when he suddenly decided to change lanes and move to the left lane which only permitted vehicles to continue straight.

"The white man put on his brakes. I had no way of avoiding him. I scratched his vehicle slightly," said Thamage.

He said he had not been speeding.

"I put on my brakes and he got out of his car and approached me. I thought he was coming to talk to me so I opened my window slightly.

"He punched the window and broke it. He then throttled me," said Thamage.

"There was no conversation between us. He grabbed my neck for a long time to the extent that the vehicle descended down the road and ended on a pavement. The engine of my car had still been running."

Thamage said when the man, identified as Lourens Grobler, let go of his throat, he reversed his car and then drove off.

Thamage was now on trial for several charges, including that of attempted murder as he knocked down Grobler's then fiance, Kim McCusker, and dragged her underneath his taxi for 700 metres.

He said he was unaware she was under his vehicle.

"As I drove off, I could see cars behind me which were flashing and hooting. I thought these people were hooting because they were perhaps friends with the white man who had strangled me," Thamage said.

He eventually stopped after being flagged down by some security guards. The single remaining passenger had also wanted to get off.

"After stopping the car at the bus stop, the security guards came to me and told me there was someone beneath my car.

"I got out of the taxi and we looked at the woman. Together with them, we picked up the vehicle and took her out."

He claimed the incident happened close to an area that harboured ambulances.

The ambulances soon took the woman off the scene.

"After the ambulance had left with her, I was left with the guards on scene. They then assaulted and handcuffed me," he said.

Thamage was delivering testimony in an almost empty court room.

While he began delivering his testimony, McCusker arrived accompanied by another woman.

The pair sat at the back of the court, listening to the proceedings.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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