No arrests after fatal VIP accident

No arrests have yet been made after a car carrying members of the VIP protection unit allegedly hit and killed a pedestrian in Ulundi over the weekend, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

Director Phindile Radebe said a case of culpable homicide was under investigation but no arrests had been made.

“The investigation is under way ... but it takes time,” she said.

Maqhina Sibiya was hit and killed, allegedly by a VIP protection unit vehicle in which African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma’s bodyguards were travelling on Sunday morning.

Zuma was not part of the convoy, which was heading to an ANC rally in Nongoma, party spokesperson Carl Niehaus confirmed.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to investigate the incident.

“We reiterate our call for a new rigorous disciplinary code to be implemented within the VIP unit.
The incident on Sunday morning may sadly be yet another instance of gross excesses on behalf of VIP unit officers,” said Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA spokesperson on safety.

“Reports we have received indicate that the blue-light convoy in question was travelling at excessive speed ... Given the disastrous track record in recent months, these reports come as no real surprise,” Kohler Barnard said.

ICD spokesperson Tommy Tshabalala could not on Sunday be reached for comment regarding the Ulundi incident.

However, the ICD confirmed on January 7 that it was investigating numerous incidents reported against the VIP unit in the past 12 months.

Among the incidents Tshabalala confirmed the unit was investigating is the one in which a motorist was assaulted, allegedly by President Kgalema Motlanthe’s VIP officers, on the N12 near Johannesburg early last month.

It was alleged at the time that the motorist’s car “got too close” to Motlanthe’s convoy and that VIP unit members fired shots at the vehicle and then confiscated equipment belonging to South African Broadcasting Corporation journalists on the scene.

A report on these incidents was due to be released late in January but Tshabalala said on Sunday that they were struggling to get statements from some of the victims.

Later on Sunday the ICD said it would add the Ulundi incident to the ongoing probes.

“The incident will definitely be added to our investigations. I spoke to my colleagues in Durban and they will collect the docket tomorrow [Monday],” Tshabalala said.—Sapa

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