News24

Mandela driver in court after Cup

2010-06-14 13:01

Johannesburg - The man driving the car when Zenani Mandela died will appear in court on July 26 - two weeks after the Soccer World Cup had ended, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Monday.

"He will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on July 26," said NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga.

Asked why it was taking so long to bring the case against Sizwe Mankazana, 23, to court, Mhaga said it was to give the police an opportunity to investigate further.

Normally, a person must appear in court within 24 hours after an arrest for drunken driving, according to the Automobile Association (AA) legal resource centre.

Mhaga declined to comment on claims Mankazana was getting special treatment because he was part of the Mandela family.

Charges


He also did not want to say anything to comments that the NPA was trying to manage media coverage by letting Mankazana appear only after the Soccer World Cup had ended on July 11, when most foreign journalists had already left the country.

"Whatever decisions we take, they are above board," Mhaga told Sapa.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Govindsamy Mariemuthoo on Monday morning again said Mankazana would face drunken driving charges.

"He is facing culpable homicide and drunken driving charges."

Asked why then he would not appear in court sooner, Mariemuthoo said the police still needed to complete their investigation.

Quizzed on why the investigation was taking so long, Mariemuthoo replied: "I cannot tell you exactly, piece-by-piece."

The case against Mankazana was struck off the roll on Friday "for further investigation", said Mariemuthoo.

The AA legal resource centre said only a senior prosecutor could decide to drop the charge if there was no sufficient evidence to support it.

If more evidence surfaced later, the charge could be reinstated, said the AA.

Court officials, who spoke to the media about the case on Friday, told Sapa on Monday they were no longer allowed to talk to the media.

World Cup courts


Mhaga said the case would be dealt with by the normal courts, not by courts dedicated to deal with Soccer World Cup offences.

The dedicated Cup courts have been quick to turn around Cup-related crimes, such the hold-up of foreign journalists at a lodge in Magaliesburg, north-west of Johannesburg.

The robbery happened on June 9 and three men were convicted and sentenced on June 11.

NPA boss Menzi Simelane also boasted before the start of the World Cup that a French national had been arrested for drunken driving and had already appeared in court, with another court appearance set down for later this month.

"He (the Frenchman) is out on bail... we are waiting for the blood sample," Simelane said on June 3.

The 13-year-old Zenani Zanethemba Nomasonto Mandela was killed in a car crash after the World Cup opening concert in Soweto on Thursday evening.

She was the great-granddaughter of Nelson Mandela. The former president did not attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup because the family was in mourning.

Zenani was the granddaughter of Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Mankazana is the son of Zwelakhe Mankazana, who is in a relationship with Zindzi.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a media statement at the weekend that Mankazana junior was the driver of the car when it crashed.