Unqualified cops drove VIPs, court hears

2013-09-23 22:25

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Johannesburg - VIP protection guards without advanced driving course qualifications were allowed to drive VIPs, the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

This emerged during the trial of Joseph Motsamai Semitjie, who is accused of reckless or negligent driving, and of failing to help injured motorcyclist Thomas Ferreira.

Ferreira collided with the BMW X5 Semitjie was driving when it skipped a traffic light while on the left-hand side of the yellow line in Paardekraal Drive.

He sustained head injuries and was comatose for weeks.

"VIP guards who did not have proper qualifications were given state authority and were allowed to drive VIPs," Semitjie's colleague Sergeant Tshepo Lethlathle told the court.

Prosecutor Micky Thesna asked Lethlathle when the right time was to switch on a car's blue lights and siren.

Lethlathle said this was when they were instructed to do so by the VIP.

"So, if the VIP you are transporting instructs you to stop because he wants to buy dagga would you follow such instructions?" Thesna asked.

Lethlathle replied that he did not know.

"You are avoiding my question because you know that buying dagga is illegal, just as much as crossing a red traffic light," said Thesna.

During cross examination, Magistrate Abdul Khan asked Lethlathle whether it was legal to skip a red traffic light.

"If you are transporting a VIP and they tell you that they are late, and the traffic light is red, as a driver you have to observe and warn other motorists before crossing a red traffic light," Lethlathle said.

Lethlathle told the court VIP drivers' mandate was to safely transport VIPs to their destination.

"How safe is the VIP if a red traffic light is crossed?" asked Khan.

Earlier, Lethlathle was asked to describe Mmemezi's character.

He described the former housing MEC as someone who wanted things done his way.

"I lodged several complaints to my superiors against former MEC Mmemezi, but nothing was done about the complaints."

The matter was postponed to 17 October to allow the defence to subpoena one last witness.

Read more on:    thomas ferreira  |  humphrey mmemezi  |  johannesburg

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