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26 Nov 2007 17:07
The possible breach of the parole conditions of former African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Tony Yengeni was under investigation after he was arrested in Cape Town for drunken driving, the Correctional Services Ministry said on Monday.
Minister Ngconde Balfour’s spokesperson, Manelisi Wolela, said an investigation into the incident had commenced.
Depending on the investigation and its outcome, the consequences of the arrest ranged from amendments made to Yengeni’s bail conditions to the revoking of his parole.
Wolela said the person responsible for “managing or supervising” Yengeni would have to “gather information” about the incident, which would then go to the department and to the parole board, before a pronouncement could be made on his fate.
Wolela said it was difficult to put a time frame on this process.
Yengeni was arrested in Goodwood, Cape Town, on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, police said on Monday.
Senior Superintendent Siphiwo Hewena, station commander at the Goodwood police station, said Yengeni was arrested on Sunday evening along Giel Basson Drive after his black BMW swerved and landed on an island.
Patrolling police noticed the incident and smelled alcohol on his breath when they stopped to investigate.
When asked whether he had been drinking, Yengeni said he had not and that he had taken flu medication.
Police were not convinced.
Yengeni was then arrested and taken for blood tests.
Western Cape police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Billy Jones, however, could not confirm that the person arrested was Yengeni.
“We are not at liberty to implicate people by name until they have appeared in court of law.
“We can only confirm that we have arrested a 53-year-old man ... for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol,” he said in a statement.
Jones said the man was arrested in the early hours of Monday, and released on bail.
Yengeni is still out on parole after his 2003 conviction for defrauding Parliament by failing to disclose a 47% discount on a luxurious 4X4 Mercedes-Benz.
He lost an appeal against his four-year sentence, but spent only a few months in Malmesbury Prison from August last year to early January this year.
Conditions include a stipulation that Yengeni may not use liquor or drugs—other than those prescribed by a doctor—until September 23 next year, nor may he visit any place where liquor is consumed.
If there was any suspicion he had been drinking, he would be subjected to a blood test.
Should he refuse to undergo the test, he would be deemed to have violated his correctional supervision.
Democratic Alliance (DA) correctional services spokesperson James Selfe called for a review of Yengeni’s parole conditions.
“The DA strongly believes that there is prima facie evidence available which, in and of itself, constitutes a breach of Mr Yengeni’s parole ... His conditions must be reviewed and possibly tightened with the view to ensuring that he complies with the conditions of his parole,” Selfe said.
Freedom Front Plus spokesperson on correctional services Pieter Groenewald said on Monday that if correctional services did not act immediately, “it would be proof that preferential treatment is given to high-profile ANC members”.
He called on the department to put Yengeni back in jail.—Sapa
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