Zenani cop 'tried to adapt evidence'

2012-04-25 13:49

Johannesburg - The officer who arrested the driver in the car crash that killed Zenani Mandela, Nelson Mandela's great-granddaughter, was accused of changing his evidence in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Defence attorney Ken Oldwadge asked metro police officer Sergeant Rudolf Potsane whether he had ever lost sight of the driver, Sizwe Mankazana, on the accident scene on June 11, 2010. Potsane said he did not.

Oldwadge then showed him photographs from the scene.

Shortly after this, Potsane said: "The only time I left him was when I was talking to [accident investigator Henry] Muller."

Oldwadge said: "Your evidence changed when I showed you the photos, please don't try to adapt your evidence."


Potsane said by the time he spoke to Muller, other police officers had arrived on the scene. He said he suspected Mankazana may have been drunk because he smelled alcohol on him and his speech was "sluggish".

Last week, Muller testified he also smelled alcohol, but as Mankazana appeared sober he concluded a bottle of alcohol in the car could have broken in the crash.

Mankazana, 25, faces charges of culpable homicide and reckless or negligent driving after the 2010 crash which claimed the teenager's life.

Zenani, 13, was asleep on the back seat of the Mercedes-Benz CLS500 when it crashed. Her mother is Zoleka, daughter of Zindzi Mandela. The vehicle veered out of control on the M1 North just before the double-decker highway that bypasses the city. Mankazana was taking Zenani home after a World Cup concert at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Potsane testified he did not have an alcohol testing apparatus on the scene. He asked Mankazana to accompany him to the metro police station in Selby, and he co-operated.

"He is a gentleman. He was regretting what happened [because] he cared very much for Zenani," Potsane said.

Oldwadge asked whether a blood sample was taken to test how much alcohol was in his system.

Potsane said the metro police department had sent a memo to tell officers not to use blood tests, but to rather use the Drager breathalyser test.

Oldwadge questioned this on the basis that the accuracy of the Drager test had been called into question. After Drager tests showed Mankazana being over the legal limit, Potsane arrested him at the Selby metro police station.

The trial continues.

  • Shellerjc - 2012-04-25 14:52

    Nice - i can see him getting away this, on a damn technicality

  • Jackie - 2012-04-25 15:36

    OMG!!! Can you believe the incompetence! There is a huge difference between the smell of alcohol on the breath and a bottle of alcohol that broke!

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