Jogger still missing

2016-03-01 13:33
Mcabango Hlongwa appeared in the Hew Hanover Magistrate’s Court.

Mcabango Hlongwa appeared in the Hew Hanover Magistrate’s Court. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - The man accused of the horror hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a man on the brink of a promising engineering career, and possibly that of his girlfriend, has appeared in court.

Mcabango Hlongwa (37) was remanded in custody until March 7 for a bail hearing after appearing in New Hanover Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said the search for Xolani Nxele’s girlfriend, Sithabile Mkhasibe, was ongoing at the time of going to print.

“He is facing charges of culpable homicide, driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance and failing to stop after the accident,” he said.

Hlongwa allegedly failed to stop when his Honda Ballade hit the couple on Friday night.

He allegedly continued driving with Mkhasibe slumped against the car windscreen after Nxele’s body, which had initially been stuck on the bonnet, slid off.

Hlongwa allegedly hid her somewhere in the surrounding sugar cane fields, as he assumed she was dead.

He was afterwards allegedly unable to direct police to where Mkhasibe was and claimed to have been too drunk at the time of the accident to recall the location.

The police searched the area during the weekend to no avail.

Climbing to the peak of his career, Nxele’s life was cut short on Friday night while jogging with his girlfriend Mkhasibe, also an engineer, on the Ekamanzi Road in Dalton.

A friend and former colleague of Nxele, Lawrence Savage, who is a runner himself, said they were meant to run The Witness Maritzburg Marathon together on Sunday.

“He was also preparing for the Comrades Marathon, which he also ran last year,” he said.

Savage, who sat on the interview panel when Nxele applied for an engineer-in-training post at UCL (Pty) Ltd in 2013, said he had last spoken to Nxele on Friday.

“He phoned to tell of good news on many fronts. He had just had a good interview at UCL, so he was going to be hired permanently.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of my friend and his girlfriend,” he said.

UCL (Pty) Ltd confirmed in a statement that Nxele was going to be hired permanently today.

Human Resources executive Adina de Vries described Nxele as “an intelligent, positive young man”.

“His death is truly a loss to society. Our hearts go out to both families.”

The incident happened opposite the main entrance of UCL (Pty) Ltd.

Mkhasibe’s distraught family continued searching for her yesterday.

Andile Mlotshwa, her brother, said the family had decided to consult a traditional healer who told them she was still alive. “The traditional healer said she was severely injured but could not locate her,” he said.

Yesterday morning Mlotshwa said he began his search for his sister at the police pound in Mkondeni, where the car that hit the couple is being held.

“I searched the boot but found nothing. I went to government hospitals and mortuaries but could not find her,” he said.

Mlotshwa said the family had even hired a helicopter to look over the sugar cane field, but they still could not locate her.


South Africans Against Drunk ­Driving expressed horror at the ­incident.

Founder Caro Smit said: “People drink then drive because they can; because there is not enough ­testing and so people know they can take a chance, and usually get away with it.

“Because even when a death or serious injury occurs, that it is not seen as a serious or violent crime by the Justice Department, and they often get away with a slap on the wrist due to poor investigative work,” said Smit.

The organisation called for stringent measures to be put in place to deal with perpetrators.

“We ask for this to be seen as the devastatingly preventable ­serious crime it is, that is costing the economy too much, as well as the huge emotional and financial burden placed on families.

“We ask the Transport ­Department and police for ­frequent testing 24/7, 365 days a year, and the Justice Department to give jail sentences to all ­perpetrators,” said Smit.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  jogging  |  court

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