Crash deaths put spotlight on blue lights

2012-04-17 16:20

Durban - The head-on collision in which a top journalist and a VIP officer died in northern KwaZulu-Natal should "hit home" to provincial government authorities, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

According to Democratic Alliance MP Sizwe Mchunu, authorities recently rejected a recommendation by the party and other political heavyweights that the province be prevented from using blue lights.

Journalist Tim Ncube and a VIP protection officer driving a blue-light vehicle that formed part of King Goodwill Zwelithini's cavalcade were killed when the officer reportedly tried to catch up with the convoy, and attempted to overtake another car, colliding with Ncube who was travelling in the opposite direction.

The king was being driven from his Nongoma palace to a doctor in Richards Bay.

Two other passengers in the VIP officer's car were seriously injured and taken to the Empangeni Garden Clinic.

Ncube, who was a seasoned journalist in radio, TV and print media, had one passenger in his car who was also seriously injured.

Mchunu said: "That a motorist's life was robbed and other road-user's lives placed at risk is a grave transgression of the protocol surrounding the use of blue lights and convoys."

"The bottom line is that no VIP convoy should ever put lives at risk and the KwaZulu-Natal government needs to act immediately to end this."

In November 2008, two members of the blue-light VIP Protection Unit, Constable Hlanganani Nxumalo and Caiphus Ndlela, appeared in court after Nxumalo allegedly fired two shots at a car on the N3 near Ashburton. Six people were injured.

Great loss

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize sent his condolences to both families.

"Ncube played a significant role in the promotion of peace, reconciliation and fostering better relations between various communities as a journalist at the height of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal," Mkhize said in a statement.

"He dedicated his energies to serving the people of this province while working for the SABC, when he became a freelance journalist and lately when he worked for Bay Community Television."

The sergeant would also be missed, Mkhize said.

"That he died in his prime is not only tragic but very painful to bear. It is a great loss to the South African Police Service and to the province as a whole."

The Inkatha Freedom Party, who worked with Ncube, said his death was a loss to the "entire journalism fraternity".

"We wish to offer our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of both men," IFP spokesperson Eric Lucas said.

"Our thoughts are also with the King Goodwill Zwelithini. We hope that he was not harmed during the dreadful incident."

  • clinton.badenhorst - 2012-04-17 16:23

    It won't hit home DA! These MP's like the idea of driving recklessly with blue lights flashing and thinking they are above the law! I say get a complete new government! I am voting for you guys!

      rynhardt.ferreira - 2012-04-17 16:31

      I agree, DA all the way!!!

      clinton.badenhorst - 2012-04-17 16:58

      @ Kgomotso - O_o??? What language is that?

      piet.strydom - 2012-04-17 17:17

      @Pythagoras - If you could address Kgomotso in Zulu better than he does you in English, then you have a leg to stand on, otherwise stop being rude.

      Andres - 2012-04-17 17:18

      @Kgomotso: Really!?! Ambulance: Life-and-death emergency. MEC or politician or public figure: What emergency? Late for a meeting? Late for a political engagement? Late for a doctor's appointment in Empangeni? Late for anything? Emergency... no! Lack of planning and foresight... yes! NO TO BLUE-LIGHT CONVOYS, PERIOD! Only the president of the nation should get an entourage.

      Bert - 2012-04-17 17:39

      Haven't a problem with the VIP driver killing himself. Feel a whole lot of sympathy for the journalist and his family. Dead at the hands of a sub human. Be a good thing if a lot more of these VIP drivers with their 'precious cargoes' aboard preferably, crashed,NOT INVOLVING THIRD PARTIES, and snuffed it. May be the only way to get the message home.

      Piet - 2012-04-17 17:40

      They so want to be dictators!

  • chris.debeer1 - 2012-04-17 16:28

    viking parade part of Africa.

  • NrGx - 2012-04-17 16:30

    Of course it wont hit home, how many have died, suffered brain injury etc and still nothing has been done. Once again, Im sure EGO will prevail!

  • Marion - 2012-04-17 16:30

    It shouldn't only be the province. It should be the entire country, perhaps with two exceptions viz. the president and the vice president.

      adam - 2012-04-17 16:36


      Pussycat44 - 2012-04-17 16:39

      No, not even those two. They have staff who must learn to plan trips properly so that no blue lights are necessary.

      Rodney - 2012-04-17 16:59

      I know of no other western country that affords politicians blue light convoys other than for the leader of that country or the leader of a visiting country. Only Africa has this problem. I have no sympathy for the cop who was killed, the more of these idiots who think they own the road in a blue light vehicle are taken out the safer it is for the rest of the road users. it's about time the authorities clamped down hard on these idiots as well as forcing them to retake their driving test.

      Kgomotso - 2012-04-17 17:07

      @ Rodney if West Country are so perfect then why are you still here

      Marion - 2012-04-17 17:15

      @Pussycat44 - the reason I say those two should perhaps be exempt is because of security. If anyone is at risk of assassination it is the president and deputy president in my opinion.

      Andres - 2012-04-17 17:21

      In the Western Cape, Blue Light Convoys are not legal. Proves provincial MEC's and public figures can serve the province without running roughshod over the people, literally and figuratively.

      Arnold - 2012-04-17 17:37

      wtf for..time management.anyway, they are always late for any appointment.

      grant.hide - 2012-04-18 00:20

      Assassination of the president from who? Most citizens are unarmed, and if anything i have learned is you are more vulnerable at high speed cause our wonderful citizens have figured out that you can slow a car down with a brick to the windshield. Blue lights aint changing no laws of physics. They should just go to the track like everyone else.

  • Shirley - 2012-04-17 16:33

    This continues to happen and nothing is done! NO vip is more important than ANY other life!!!! The arrogance and total disregard for others is disgusting. The young boy who was hospitilised recently for months still hasnt received a cent even though he was promised assistance!They want drivers to pay e tags,toll roads etc but expect people to endanger lives daily with these ruthless drivers from hell on a daily basis! Government please wake up from the gravy induced sleep and get your priorities right!!!!

  • Rob - 2012-04-17 16:33

    If the blue light status symbol is curtailed how will this fakes prove that they are important?

      NrGx - 2012-04-17 16:41

      by their woodwork grade of course

  • Liz - 2012-04-17 16:45

    Well everybody has had enough of the blue light brigades! This seems to have been a head on collision when the officer overtook a vehicle when it was not safe to do so. So much for the special driving skills these officers are supposed to have. Two people have lost their lives, others are in hospital and families have lost family members. How sad! All because there are elements in our government that support this highway thuggery and trumped up self importance.

      sean.redmond3 - 2012-04-17 17:49

      "Two people have lost their lives, others are in hospital and families have lost family members". "The King" was going to visit a doctor, Unbelievable.

  • Mark - 2012-04-17 16:51

    I Had the same situation on wednesday 28 march2012 between prince albert road and lainsburg on the way down to Cape town the idiot drove in my lane comming from Cape towns side where roadworks where taking place there where no shoulder on the side of the road and me and 3 other vechiles where pushed off the road nearly causing us to run into a veld i wish i had a pazuka at that time so i would have blown the bastard to smitherines. WTF do they think they are and above this countries law.

      George - 2012-04-17 17:15

      What I do is hoot and flash my lights. I think that makes them feel especially impotant.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-17 16:52

    This tragedy will not bring home the stupidity of their actions - because they believe they are ENTITLED to hog the road. That they are better than everyone else, no-one must get in their way, if they're late, so what, they'll just go nice and fast to catch up. Never mind who they maim and kill along the way. I am beginning to lose hope in the minds of my fellow south Africans - that they should continue to be intimidated by a bunch of murderous I'll -mannered bullies

  • George - 2012-04-17 17:10

    Our constitution does not recognize privilege road passage such as the one demanded by politicians. The public protector should look into this abuse of the citizens by their reckless government who on a daily basis betray what they supposedly stand for. Cry Mandela!

  • Shaka - 2012-04-17 17:13

    (Perhaps this does not hold for Royalty but) VIPs are VIPs because they have been given power by the people who vote them in as representatives. Their reason to be is to serve the people. Why then do they consider themselves to be above the people? We the people have the power to stop this by not voting them in, by not giving them the power to abuse.

  • BobM6389 - 2012-04-17 17:16

    This will continue to happen as long as the ANC are at the helm. Just wonder how many more lives will be lost before some action is taken. Maybe a big civil claim will do the trick and not against the government or state but against the guilty driver and his VIP.

  • vangiz - 2012-04-17 17:18

    What a waste of lives! I see people driving recklessly daily, and ALL types of drivers and I just wonder to myself, WHY??? To take an innocent life?? What are they trying to prove?? I would rather just drive slowly and avoid accidents and be called a slow coach etc., than speed and have to explain to someone's family why I killed them! Humans are selfish, unkind, reckless and self absorbed..I am sorry but it is true. So sad. RIP

      goldwright - 2012-04-17 22:00

      Very true vangiz. There is a culture of reckless driving in this country among all types of drivers. The people at the top should be leading by example, by driving safely, & they are not, so it's no suprise that so many SA drivers, blue lights or not, drive with little or blatant disregard towards the traffic laws and with the safety of others in mind. Whatever happened to "Do unto others as you'd do unto yourself" - wether or not you believe in God, what about a basic respect towards other people? We are all human and we all deserve to be able to use our roads safely. However I don't see this culture changing anytime soon. I am too jaded for that - like you say, I also see reckless driving every day, and people have this invincible attitude on the roads, and that won't change until they themselves are lying dying on the roadside, or are seriously injured in hospital. That culture of bad driving will NOT change unless our roads are policed more effectively AND the LAW does it's part as well, but as I often ask, do those in leadership positions really have the will to change their mindsets AND that of the general populace of bad drivers, of which there are many? I have probably lived half my life if I don't get wiped out on the roads or murdered, before I can live my second half, and I doubt I will live to see safer roads in this country. Of course I would like to be proven wrong and one day be able to drive on safe SA roads, but I'm not too optimistic about it.

  • Christopher - 2012-04-17 17:19

    Is this just Sizwe Mchunu's opinion or that of the DA? On the 27th of February a certain white lady didn't seem to concerned about her blue light convoy as they raced through Vredenburg showing a blatant lack of concern for other vehicles or pedestrians. None of you deserve special treatment.

      Liz - 2012-04-17 17:45

      In my view (and experience) it goes with the terrain. Bantustan leaders also had blue light brigades and even the previous national government was not averse to showy motorcades and "being escorted" although I do not recall being forced off the road by them as we are today.

  • MattQ4 - 2012-04-17 17:25

    COME ON PEOPLE!! this is the ANC we are talking about, why are you all acting so shocked and surprised. The have behaved like a bunch of children since they took power in the 90's.. nothing changes.. it's just a bunch of kids showing off their new toys and grabbing every sweet their fat grubby little hands will hold while hiding behind a tree on the playground.. thinking no one can see them.. yeah right!

  • sean.redmond3 - 2012-04-17 17:27

    "The king was being driven from his Nongoma palace to a doctor in Richards Bay". If you think you are important then you can KILL people because of your BLUE light. RIP Tim Ncube

      Robin - 2012-04-17 17:41

      Hope the 'king's' doctor appointment was worth 2

  • BobM6389 - 2012-04-17 17:28


  • Kagiso Tlhakung - 2012-04-17 18:26

    y does the Zulu king get a motorcade??? Wat abt all the other kings, more important kings lyk the batswana kings dnt get this luxury...but i think no king should get a motorcade...kings should not get a cent frm gov...kings r sooo 1900'

  • Suzanne - 2012-04-17 19:01

    How many more deathly accidents do we need to have in order to ban the arrogant use of useless arrogantly used blue lights?

  • Kekeletso.nax - 2012-04-17 19:03

    Okay, why eff, are we maintaining this \king\ with our tax money? If anyone should maintain him and his lavish lifestyle are his \loyal followers\ I'm Sotho and I don't want to maintain a Zulu king!

      zybt99 - 2012-04-17 19:24

      You dnt. We do. Since u seem to care go check what the provincial government sets aside for the royal household then make sane comments. Seems you have no problem paying former heads of state responsible for crimes against humanity...

      Kekeletso.nax - 2012-04-17 19:51

      Well then I speak of behalf on all the non-zulu loyalists, he can kiss my ass!

  • Zirk - 2012-04-17 19:48

    Using a blue light is not a right of way, the driver must still drive in such a way that he does not put peoples lifes at risk. It doesn't matter who you are, you should be charged if involved in and accident,as a result of your driving. Jail time if you were the cause of somebody else dying in an accident.

  • jason.nel3 - 2012-04-17 20:30

    This country is a walking contradiction! Speed kills!! We have the Minister of Transport talk about this very fact, don't fat cats think they will be safer driving 120km on the highway instead of 180? Who is out to get them? Can anyone answer this question? Has there ever been & Government assassination on our roads? Speed does kill, when we get fined R400 for doing 75 in a 60 zone, doesn't the logical explanation say to the normal thinking mind that speed does indeed kill the innocent? We get reminded every time we open up our post & that's for doing speeds where there is still a lot of control. The other contradiction is when you knock a pedestrian over on the highway, yes...its illegal to be there in the first place but yes, you will be held for culpable homicide for knocking him down. One law cancels out the other & this is where we are sitting. no matter how important you are, speed kills! If speed is attached to a special Blue light, then it should still be illegal! People in power seem to to be so ignorant to this contradiction. I wish one day we can wake up without have contradictions & more accountability!

  • frank.hartry - 2012-04-17 20:37

    They are the thickest bunch of VIP protectors in the world. They know absolutely nothing about protection. Nowhere in Europe would VIP politicians be driven from A to B with flashing lights. Even a child would know that a would be assassin would merely be looking for the blue lights from an ambush position if he wanted to harm one of these clowns. In Europe so called VIPs invariably drive themselves everywhere with as little fuss as possible. The whole world is looking at South Africa and are laughing at Zuma and his ANC politicians. If it wasn't so tragic it would be funny.

  • Craig Hopkins - 2012-04-17 21:01

    It's a pity that innocent people have to be injured or killed by these blue light morons. If only they could find a way to keep on killing themselves…

  • Schmee - 2012-04-18 07:26

    If the good king had a conscience then he would put an end to his own blue light brigade.

  • Abdul - 2012-04-18 07:29

    Driver Education followed by committed enforcement....see website wwwfatalmovesdotcom

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