Taught to take orders - VIP driver

2013-09-04 22:32


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Johannesburg - The case against former Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi's driver was postponed by the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Magistrate Abdul Khan postponed the matter to Thursday to allow the defence to bring in more witnesses.

Mmemezi's former driver, Joseph Motsamai Semitjie, faces charges of reckless or negligent driving, and failure to assist an injured person after an accident involving Thomas Ferreira in 2011.

The court heard on Wednesday that Semitjie had failed to stop at a red traffic light at the Paardekraal intersection in Krugersdorp.

"I did not stop at the traffic light, but I was slow and cautious," he said.

Prosecutor Mickey Thesna asked Semitjie what the emergency was.

"When you drive such high profile people, they tell you that they are late for a meeting, you apply your own discretion as what to do next," said Semitjie.

The court heard that Mmemezi was an hour late for a meeting.

Semitjie told the court that, during VIP training, he was taught to take orders from the high profile people he would transport.

Thesna put it to Semitjie that the only reasonable thing he could have done was to wait until the traffic light turned green.

"When you are transporting a person such an MEC you can't be stopping everywhere," Semitjie said.

He told the court an accident could have been avoided had the motorbike driver used the right lane.

Driver’s test

It later emerged that Semitjie had not passed an advanced driver's test.

"If you did not pass your advanced driving course, who gave you the authority to drive a state vehicle?" asked Thesna.

Semitjie said his superior, who had also tested his driving skills, had done so.

"I was not given any test to write during my training as a VIP driver, but only tested out driving on the streets," said Semitjie.

Thesna put it to Semitjie that several police members who served in the VIP protection unit had told the court that blue lights and sirens were supposed to be used only in life-threatening emergencies.

"I do not agree with their testimony, because blue lights and sirens can also be used to alert other motorist that a vehicle transporting a high profile person is approaching," said Semitjie.

He told the court he left Mmemezi's house around 09:30 on the day of the accident in 2011. The MEC was to have been at a meeting at 09:00.

Ferreira was on his motorcycle when Semitjie allegedly drove his BMW X5 left of the yellow line in Paardekraal Drive, and disregarded a red traffic light.

Ferreira, who was on Windsor Road, collided with the car in the middle of the intersection.

Read more on:    thomas ferreira  |  humphrey mmemezi  |  johannesburg  |  accidents

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