Mandela crash case: Witness breaks down

2012-08-23 18:01
Sizwe Mankazana (File, Sapa)

Sizwe Mankazana (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - A witness broke down in tears on Thursday as she described a crash that claimed the life of former president Nelson Mandela's great granddaughter.

Stacey-Lee Louters, a cousin of the driver, Sizwe Mankazana, was the second passenger in the Mercedes-Benz when it crashed on the M1 in Johannesburg on June 11 2010.

"I remember seeing the curb ahead and swerving... I remember two impacts," she told the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.

"I realised I was okay... and I heard Sizwe."

‘I realised Zenani hadn’t made it’

When she saw he was not injured badly, she looked for 13-year-old Zenani Mandela.

"I opened the door to see where Zenani was... I went around the car." Louters burst into tears and did not complete the sentence.

The case was stood down briefly for Louters to compose herself.

When she returned she said: "I ran around the side where Zenani was seated... and I realised she hadn't made it."

Louters stopped the first car she saw. The people in the car contacted her family.

Mankazana, 25, a friend of the Mandela family, faces a charge of culpable homicide and another of reckless or negligent driving.

Louters said they had been returning from a celebration at the Orlando Stadium before the World Cup when the accident took place.

Members of the Mandela family were also at the stadium, including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. They arrived at the stadium in a convoy and the family went to a VIP room.

Accused ‘was sober while driving’

Louters said she had a glass of whisky and Mankazana had only one drink.

"To my knowledge I remember him having one drink after refusing everything else I was offering him."

She could not recall what drink it was, but maintained he was sober while driving.
Around 23:00, Louters and Mankazana were about to leave.

"Sizwe and I were trying to find someone else to take Zenani home... but no one else was going in that direction and Zenani wanted us to take her," she said.

Madikizela-Mandela had also asked Mankazana to take Zenani home, said Louters. The three then left the stadium in Mankazana's father's car and got lost on their way out of Soweto. Their GPS had led them into the city.

"We re-entered our home address and off-ramped. Then the accident happened on the off-ramp."

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