Minister crashed at high speed

2015-03-16 00:00

POLOKWANE — The driver of the white Volkswagen Touareg in which Collins Chabane died yesterday was probably travelling close to 200 km/h.

Philip Smit, an attorney from ­Polokwane and qualified reconstructor of crash scenes, arrived at the scene about 30 minutes after the crash in which the minister of Public Service and Administration died.

A breakdown truck was busy making a u-turn over the highway to get to a smaller truck on the other side of the N1 highway when Chabane’s vehicle collided with it.

Smit said from his measurements of the drag marks of both vehicles, the Touareg ploughed into the Nissan truck at very high speed.

The top half of the sport utility vehicle was peeled off by the underside of the truck.

Smit said there were no brake marks on the road.

The Touareg came to rest against the steel fence about 100 metres from the collision, facing in the opposite direction.

“The impact moved the steel fence by a metre,” said Smit.

Chabane (55), the driver, Sergeant L.G Sekele, and his body guard Sergeant M.C. Lentsoane, both 45 years old, died on the scene.

Sekele was flung out of the vehicle during the crash. Chabane was sitting on the left back seat and Lentsoane on the left front seat. They were on their way back to Pretoria from a funeral of a tribal chief in Malamulele. Chabane was one of the speakers at the funeral.

Smit said the driver could not have avoided the crash.

Another forensic investigator Stan Bezuidenhout told sister paper Beeld the driver had to be travelling at well over the speed limit of 120 km/h to sustain the kind of damage seen at the crash.

“I would expect his speed to have been closer to 150 km/h to sustain such ­damage.”

Polokwane police commander Major-General Joseph Maepa said the driver of the tow-in rig was allegedly drunk when he made the u-turn. He had a lapsed driver’s licence and a previous arrest for driving under the influence in Ivory Park in Johannesburg, as well as two pending cases of assault against him in Giyani. He was arrested and will appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court today

At the scene yesterday, Chabane’s son, Percy sank onto his haunches and sat with his head hanging when he saw the wreck in which his father had died.

He and Chabane’s widow, Mavis, arrived about two hours after the crash in an official convoy from Pretoria.

Two family members had to support her when she saw the crumpled remains of the car her husband was flung out of.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said stricter action will be taken against people driving under the influence. “We can no longer afford to lose lives in this manner,” he said.

Premier of Limpopo Stan Mathabatha said he and Buti Manamela, minister in the presidency, had to identify Chabane’s body early yesterday.

Chabane’s brother Percy said the late minister was “a man of the people”.

“He died with his boots on. He was on his way from one official meeting to another.”

Chabane has been a member of Parliament since 1994 and was a former minister of the presidency.

He also served as MEC in Limpopo for several years.

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