Trial date set for truck driver in Chabane crash

2015-03-17 11:54

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The culpable homicide case in the fatal accident of Minister Collins Chabane has been postponed to April 10.

The case had to be called up again today after it was realised that officials at the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court had earlier agreed on a postponement date that fell on Easter Monday – courts do not operate on public holidays.

The driver of a truck involved in the accident, Amukelani Rikhotso, made a brief first appearance in court earlier this morning.

The 29-year-old accused walked into the courtroom to a barrage of media cameras. He was, however, determined not to expose his face and kept it hidden under his grey hoodie. He kept his head bowed when he got to the accused box.

Chabane and his two bodyguards died in a collision with a truck that Rikhotso was driving. The accident occurred on the N1 between Mokopane and Polokwane on Saturday, after Rikhotso allegedly made a U-turn on the highway.

Before court proceedings got under way, Chabane’s secretary Tanya Coetzer sat alone in court, sobbing silently.

“She was to Collins Chabane what Zelda la Grange was to Nelson Mandela. She clearly is shattered,” said one man inside the court room.

Coetzer was too emotional to talk to the media when approached for comment.

Also in court was Chabane’s nephew, Mosa Chabane, who is also the ANC Youth League coordinator in Limpopo.

After the case was postponed, Mosa Chabane said his family was “confident” in the judicial system and that they would leave everything to the courts.

He said, however, they would not like the accused to get bail.

Asked how his family was holding up, Mosa Chabane said “we’re gradually coping with the situation”.

He expressed the family’s gratitude for the overwhelming support they have received.

There were reports that Chabane’s VW Touareg was travelling at about 200km/h when the accident happened. This, and unconfirmed reports that the truck driver’s licence as well as vehicle disc had expired, would be confirmed in court.

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