'Blue-light' cop expected in court
A member of the VIP protection team of the KwaZulu-Natal social welfare minister will appear in court on Monday on charges of attempted murder after he allegedly shot at a car, causing a crash that injured eight people.
The man allegedly shot the tyre of a vehicle after its driver failed to move into the slower lane of the N3 highway near Camperdown on Saturday.
This caused an accident in which eight people were injured, four of them seriously.
Police spokesperson Director Phindile Radebe confirmed that the officer was charged with attempted murder, and that he was part of a VIP team protecting KwaZulu-Natal social welfare minister Meshack Radebe.
He is expected to appear in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court.
Call for minister’s head
The Democratic Alliance’s transport spokesperson Radley Keys said the DA was calling for Radebe’s “immediate dismissal”.
“The horrific incident concerns a member of Hadebe’s staff and he needs to take responsibility for it.”
The Inkatha Freedom Party’s provincial leader Lionel Mtshali said: “This attitude on the part of the MEC’s [provincial minister] staff clearly filters down from the top. The MEC’s arrogance, not least in connection with the provincial government’s security arrangements, is well known and well documented.
“Nevertheless, this last incident is indicative that the ANC government and its staff have crossed the line of acceptable behaviour.”
Police spokesperson Superintendent Henry Budhram said the policeman faces 12 charges of attempted murder.
Budhram said a black Mazda that was heading towards Durban on Saturday morning was being followed by a police collision-unit vehicle, when a black Volkswagen Golf with flashing blue lights sped up behind them.
The police vehicle pulled over to allow the Golf to pass, but “at that moment the driver of the Mazda could not pull over as he was passing a truck”.
Budhram said that it is alleged that when the Mazda had then passed the truck and pulled over, a passenger in the Golf opened one of the tinted windows and shot the tyre of the Mazda.
“The driver of the Mazda lost control and his vehicle went into the oncoming traffic colliding with a bakkie in the north-bound lane.”
He said that the Golf sped off and the police’s collision-unit vehicle could not catch up with it and the officers decided to render assistance to the injured.
There were six people in the Mazda and six in the bakkie, eight of whom were injured. The police’s dog unit recovered a spent cartridge from the highway.
“This latest incident shows their scant disregard for all other people on the road and is the worst display to date of the attitude displayed by blue-light bullies” said Keys.
“They are a law unto themselves who treat citizens, their lives and property with absolute disregard. Clearly the ANC are not interested in providing a safe travel environment for South Africans,” he said.
Mtshali said: “The users of blue lights are law unto themselves. This last incident demonstrates that the obsession with trappings of power within the provincial government and its staff will stop at nothing.”
In May, an angry motorcyclist punched a KwaZulu-Natal provincial VIP driver after the VIP driver had crashed into the back of another car, seriously injuring its occupant on the N3 near Camperdown.
In April 2007 the Witness newspaper reported that its switchboard had been flooded with calls from motorists who said they were pushed off the N3 by a blue-light convoy, identified as being that of ANC president Jacob Zuma.
It also reported at the time that a Pietermaritzburg man, Faizel Mooideen, had a rifle pointed at him and his family by security officers who tried to push them off a lane on the highway. At the end of the same month a motorist used his cellphone to film KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele’s convoy doing 160km/h on the N3. - Sapa