Yengeni appears in court on drunk driving charges

ANC heavyweight Tony Yengeni is hoping that drunken and reckless driving charges against him will be withdrawn, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday. 

Yengeni, a member of the ANC national executive committee, made his second appearance before magistrate Nasha Banwari, who extended his R500 bail. The matter was postponed to August 12, for the outcome of written representations for the withdrawal of the charges, to be submitted to the prosecuting authorities. 

Sylvester Vogel, for Yengeni, told the court that he had received details of the two charges from prosecutor Adiel Jansen, and that he needed time to study these. He undertook to have the written representations submitted to the prosecuting authorities “within a month”. 

As an alternative to the drunken driving charge, Yengeni allegedly drove with a blood-alcohol level of 0.25%, five times the legal limit of 0.05. 

Yengeni was not asked to plead to the charges during Tuesday’s proceedings. 

He was arrested in August last year, after City of Cape Town law enforcement officials saw him allegedly driving his Maserati erratically near the intersection of Somerset and Dixon roads in the Cape Town ctiy centre. In a statement issued after his arrest, the City’s safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith said Yengeni was one of 52 people arrested during a weekend operation. 

Smith alleged that at least one of Yengeni’s car’s number plates was missing at the time. He said a screening device indicated Yengeni was “substantially over” the legal blood-alcohol level. For this reason, Yengeni was taken to the “shadow centre” in Athlone for a blood sample to be taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis. 

In 2007, Yengeni was arrested in Goodwood, Cape Town, on a charge of drunken driving, but was found not guilty. At the time of his arrest in Goodwood, he was out on parole after his 2003 conviction for fraud. – Sapa

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