Mandela crash: Was the driver her dad?

2010-06-13 10:28


Press wishes to clarify the story “Was the driver her dad?”, published on June

13, 2010. Our story suggested that the driver of the car could have been Zenani

Mandela’s father, based on information received from a source on the scene. The

family has since identified the driver. It is not Zenani’s


A tow-truck driver who was first to arrive at the horrific scene

where Nelson ­Mandela’s great-grandchild, Zenani Mandela, was killed claims the

driver of the ­ill-fated car was Zenani’s father.

Zenani (13)was killed on the M1 South near Johannesburg when the

driver of the car she was in lost control and crashed ­into a barrier.

Zenani, a pupil at the prestigious St Stithian’s College in

Johannesburg, was on her way home from the 2010 Soccer World Cup Kick-off

Concert held at ­Orlando Stadium in Soweto on ­Thursday evening. The accident

­happened early on Friday morning.

Police say the driver of the silver ­Mercedes Benz CLS 500 was

drunk. He was arres­ted and charged with culpable homicide and drunken


Police spokesperson Senior ­Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said he

did not know if the man was ­Zenani’s ­father or not: “All I can confirm is that

there was an accident, a girl died and the driver was charged with drunken


Gauteng police spokesperson ­Brigadier Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said

the man was released after the court struck the case off the roll for further

­investigation just hours after the crash.

The driver of the tow truck, who asked not to be named, said the

shaken driver told him and his partner that the dead teenager was his


The tow-truck driver said: “We asked him who the little girl was

and he said it was his daughter. I didn’t want to take photographs of the child

because it was too ­terrible. That is why I only took ­photos of the car.”

He added that a Metro Police highway patrol unit arrived shortly

afterwards and arrested the driver. The scene was cleared within 45 minutes when

police realised that a member of the Mandela family was involved.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, the SA Police Service and the

Johannesburg Metro Police would neither confirm nor deny that the driver was

Zenani’s father.

Zenani was the eldest daughter

of Zoleka, the daughter of Nelson and ­Winnie Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi.

Zenani stole the hearts of TV viewers across the world when she

carried the Confederations Cup trophy onto the ­podium before it was handed over

to the winners, Brazil, last June.

Mandela family spokesperson Sello Hatlang also denied that the

driver was Zenani’s father but was mum on who the driver was.

The tow-truck driver said the accident happened at about


The car knocked off the end part of the barrier and flung it onto

the island of the freeway.

Another section of the barrier hurtled into the car

and struck Zenani, who was sleeping on the back seat. The car eventually ground

to a halt a few ­hundred metres away from the scene.

The uninjured driver and his other passenger, a woman, climbed out

and called relatives.

Hatlang said funeral arrangements were yet to be made.

He confirmed

that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was treated for shock after being told the news

of her great-grandchild’s death.


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