Police chief’s rogue driver

2014-07-18 00:00

DURBAN Metro Police chief Eugene Nzama’s personal guards have wrecked another high-performance car — the latest in a string of unexplained on-duty accidents.

Thamsanqa Mbongwe, one of Nzama’s phalanx of guards, slammed a VW Golf 6 GTI into a minibus taxi, slightly injuring passengers, on Sunday night.

The Witness can reveal that:

• Mbongwe has totalled two metro police cars in just over a year, racking up a damages bill of almost R1 million;

• His crash comes days after he was found guilty of negligent driving in a departmental inquiry for his March accident, and;

• The officer was previously found to have been driving recklessly when he careened his first Golf GTI into a concrete barrier while doing 175 km/h, the wrong way on an unopened freeway.

Ranks of policemen who protect the police chief in shifts around the clock are equipped with unmarked cars.

A highly ranked Metro Police source, who could not be named for fear of reprisal, confirmed that Mbongwe had wrecked a new car that had been seconded to Nzama’s VIP platoon.

The source said that an internal investigation would probe exactly what the officer was doing.

“We need to find out what the officer was doing in KwaDabeka after hours and that will be investigated by city fleet … These officers that protect the chief are a law unto themselves,” he said.

“If he was supposed to be protecting the chief then why was he so far away in a car that is paid for by the city?”

A second source within police structures confirmed that the accident was being investigated, and that the seriously injured officer remained in hospital.

Mbongwe had previously defied a ban on driving city-owned cars in the wake of his initial accident and was suspended from driving police vehicles until further notice.

The first of his mishaps also happened near KwaDabeka, while he was rushing to Nzama’s Newlands East home.

Six months ago, another of Nzama’s guards wrecked a police car while rushing to pick him up.

The policeman lost control of the car while rounding a bend and slammed into a tree.

A controversial report on the accident, of which The Witness has a copy, said the policeman was clocked at nearly 160 km/h.

A detailed examination of the car also revealed a bullet hole in the door — a shooting that was never reported to internal police ­authorities.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that a police investigation would run concurrently.

eThekwini communications head Tozi Mthethwa confirmed that Nzama was not in the car at the time of the accident.

Do you have information on this story? Contact Jeff Wicks

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za, 082 073 8565

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