Zulu pleads not guilty to culpable homocide

2009-08-04 00:00

DETAILS of the horrific accident involving Durban socialite and businessman Prince Sifiso Zulu, who is facing two counts of culpable homicide, emerged in the Durban Regional court yesterday.

He has been charged with two counts of culpable homicide for a hit-and-run accident when his BMW X5 failed to stop at a traffic light on Masabalala Yengwa Avenue (NMR Avenue) and crashed into a bakkie carrying 12 members from the Soul’s Harbour Church.

Mangosuthu University of Technology students Hlengiwe Dlamini and Sidumisile Mncube were killed in the accident. The driver of the BMW X5 fled the scene.

Dressed in a navy suit, Zulu entered the courtroom with his head bowed. His bodyguards, who usually accompany him to court, were nowhere to be seen. Outside, camera crews and photographers waited to get a glimpse of Zulu and his entourage of advisers.

Several friends of Zulu’s, including well-known Durban businessman Erwin Ullbricht, sat among relatives of the deceased and church members, listening intently to court proceedings.

Zulu is facing seven charges, including reckless and negligent driving, speeding and driving an unregistered vehicle and driving with false number plates.

After the charges were read out, Zulu pleaded not guilty to all charges except for driving a vehicle not registered or licensed and driving a vehicle with licence plates that were not applicable.

His lawyer, T. Masuku, confirmed this with Magistrate Thomas Nhleko.

Masuku told the court that Zulu was not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident. The name and details of the driver have been disclosed to the investigating officer.

Thami Ngema, the driver of the bakkie, was asked by state prosecutor Mark Dyson to mark where the accident occurred on a sketch pad.

Ngema said that he had stopped at an intersection and waited for the robots to turn green.

“When the robot opened for me, I proceeded. I could see the lights of the motor vehicle coming in front of me along NMR Avenue,” he said.

He said the vehicle crashed into the left hand side of the bakkie.

“My vehicle stopped. The wheels had twisted into the bakkie. I noticed that all my passengers were scattered all over the ground,” he said.

Ngema sustained a broken leg, head injuries and several cuts and bruises in the accident; he told the court that he still suffers with his knee cap.

His wife, Phumzile, also testified during the proceedings. She was sitting next to her husband at the time of the accident and sustained head and back injuries and a broken nose. She underwent surgery to fix her nose several days after the crash.

The court also heard how Nomfundo Mncube, one of the passengers who was sitting with the deceased in the back of the bakkie, was forced to leave her studies due to the injuries sustained in the crash.

Mncube had to de-register from college to recover from her back and neck injuries.

The case continues today.

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