Zenani Mandela crash: Claim cops fled

2012-04-16 22:34

Johannesburg - Police "ran away" from the accident scene that claimed the life of Nelson Mandela's great grand-daughter at the start of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

Johannesburg metro police officer Henry Miller said during cross-examination he was left almost alone at the scene in the early hours of June 11.

He was testifying in the culpable homicide trial of the car's driver Sizwe Mankazana, who had been driving 13-year-old Zenani home from the Soccer World Cup concert at Orlando Stadium.

Miller was the accident scene investigator and photographer, and his job was to establish the cause of the crash.

Responding to questions by defence counsel Kenny Oldwage, who wanted to know why police did not impound the car, Miller said neither the city nor the police had the capacity to tow in and keep a smashed car for further investigation.

It was then that he said police "ran away" from the accident scene on realising that a Mandela child had died.

At one point he phoned a superior to tell him what was happening, he told the court.

Miller said Mankazana's father arranged for the car to be removed and stored at a venue of his choice. Miller did not see it again.

He said the court should not rule out mechanical failure as the cause of the accident as, for instance, the accelerator could have become stuck as Mankazana negotiated the bends.

During cross-examination, Oldwage accused Miller of adjusting his testimony.

An experienced accident investigator, he testified that the car hit a concrete side barrier, crossed two lanes and hit a steel barrier on the other side of the road. It hit another steel barrier and then a lamppost.

He said he came to these conclusions based on scratch marks on the concrete wall, damage to the steel barricades and tyre marks on the road.

He described how he found the barrier ripped from its bolts. It had been dragged behind the out-of-control luxury car. The barrier penetrated the car on the back right hand side.

The accident happened on the M1 North just before the double-decker section, where the speed limit was 80km/h, said Miller.

On Monday, members of the Mandela family including Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, her daughters Zindzi and Zenani, and the child's mother Zoleka were in court, as were Mankazana's parents.

The trial continues.

  • jack.oosthuysen - 2012-04-16 22:52

    Heard and run.

  • Crracker - 2012-04-16 22:55

    Dear mr Henry Miller, Please take some advice. You should read up on the symptoms of illnesses and pick a few that are known to render you incapable of rendering your professional duties at short notice. Or run away with the rest of them. Don't become the sh@t of the others. This is where we unfortunately find ourselves. Your faithfully realist,

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-17 00:17

    They ran away ... Nice! How very commendable.

  • Eric - 2012-04-17 00:30

    And why did they run away .... ?

  • lhfick - 2012-04-17 02:38

    Just one of the reasons why I am leaving the saps.

      Vuyo - 2012-04-17 07:12

      Also running away as well.

      roberta.keeling - 2012-04-17 08:11

      @Vuyo - You idiot. He'll be leaving because of the idiots and cowards he has to work with!

      lhfick - 2012-04-17 09:55

      Vuyo, Sir I gave my country nearly 26 years of my life, I have helped countless people, and I always gave my best. Cops like myself ensured that our country was stable enough, so that all of us could vote! If you think or feel that you can do better, by all means go for it. Sixteen years I have waited for promotion and I can assure you it is not going to happen for me and I also have the right to stop the train in order to get off and find other employment.

      Foc - 2012-04-17 10:11

      Mr Fick I salute you!! You did what is expected from each police officer ... to wear your uniform with pride and do your best ... Such a pity there are so few of you still left. Public has lost total respect for the police force (metro and saps)and that is where the problem lies. That you stayed for so long under these conditions is commendable. Well done! Be safe my man and good luck!! Good people never struggle find other opportunities!! God's speed!

      Eric - 2012-04-17 10:13

      Maybe you should consult Solidarity or Afriforum before you leave? As I recall, they won a court case against the racist police management (all ex MK terrorists!), not too long ago. A female captain was involved. Anyway, thank you and good luck. You are part of a rare breed of policeman.

  • gillian.d.toit - 2012-04-17 04:40

    Why am I not surprised that the police ran away.

  • Frank - 2012-04-17 05:30

    I would have also run away! What happened to the two cops that stopped Winnie's car for speeding. Bye-bye job, bye-bye pension etc, etc. Why show her picture in the article. She is the nastiest, most loathsome garbage bag in SA.

      Eric - 2012-04-17 10:16

      After 18 months, neither the disciplinary hearing, nor the criminal case against them has started! Obviously, they have no case against the two, because the Mugger of the Nation was lying, as usual! #^%$#^%#^%!!!!!

      Eric - 2012-04-17 10:19 From Jannie Odendaal: Hi guys, was in court today. Docket is missing, it was signed in at a department and never signed out. Thank u again for Carel Taute and Nantes Kelder for all ur support and help. Really appreciate it. Case posponed to 14 May for the docket. Makes u wonder.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-04-17 05:58


      Patsy - 2012-04-17 14:31

      Convenience, more like.

  • Kevin - 2012-04-17 08:43

    And these are our "professional" police services!

  • Andre - 2012-04-17 08:59

    If you knew Winnie you would also run away!

  • netshikulwe - 2012-04-17 09:07

    I think there is a problem either with our justice system or the way in which media selective report certain story. I would like to believe that justice works for the rich while the poor are left to defend themselves.

      netshikulwe - 2012-04-17 09:33

      selectively i meant

  • Hugh - 2012-04-17 09:26

    four impact zones + distance and 22mm bolts pulled from fixing. Using the car mass + occupants, impacts + distance traveled he will likely tell us that the car was travelling well over the national speed limit. I have often wondered at those who claim a stuck accelerator why they travel some distance first without thinking of switching off the ignition.

  • Jacqui - 2012-04-17 12:26

    'Neither the city nor the police have the capacity to tow in a smashed car and keep it for futher investigation'. What on earth is wrong with this country?.

  • Dhavandran - 2012-04-17 12:39

    tell the truth because either way you are going to be made the scapegoat for someone else's @#$#up.they may even put you behind the wheel of the car , it is possible in today's corrupt saps.cele does not need a cellmate.

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