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A taxi driver who was allegedly left disabled after an accident involving a senior KwaZulu-Natal policewoman, Major-General Phindile Radebe, in August last year, is calling for a full investigation as to why the reckless and negligent charge against her was dropped.
Thembinkosi “Alison” Phakathi, 60, alleged that Radebe was on her cellphone when she crashed her black Mercedes Benz car.
A summons was issued to Radebe three months ago, after which she had made representations to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
In it, Radebe claimed that Phakathi was the sole cause of the accident, and that undue weight had been given to his version of events.
She claimed she was driving less than 60km/h and was not talking on her cellphone.
Radebe, who was apparently using a wireless device to speak at the time, accused Phakathi of fabricating events and having a number of discrepancies in his version.
Recently, the acting DPP in KZN, Cyril Mlotshwa, took the decision to drop the charges because of a lack of evidence.
Mlotshwa also allegedly said it would cost the State too much to represent Radebe, who was on duty at the time of the crash.
Phakathi, who walks with an aid since the incident, has vowed to get to the bottom of why Radebe was not hauled to court. “I am an old man. This accident was not my fault. I was driving slowly,” he said. “My taxi was not insured and it cost me more than R140 000 to repair. There is something very fishy about this case.”
Phakathi said he was getting a legal opinion and would be sending a letter to the newly appointed national police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Riah Phiyega, to conduct a full investigation into the crash.
“I am very upset. It is unfair that this matter did no come before a court,” he said. “The investigation must be re-opened so the truth can be told. There was also a witness. He will be able to say what happened.”
According to a source, the witness, in a statement to police, said he had seen Radebe driving along the road and making a u-turn before he heard a bang.
He told police the taxi was not speeding, the source said.
The source said cellphone records also showed Radebe had been speaking on the cellphone from the time she left Durban up until the time of the crash.
Phakathi said his leg was badly injured and he is in and out of hospital for treatment.
He said he was also looking at lodging a civil claim.
KZN police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said it was not SAPS policy to name parties that had allegations levelled against them, unless they had been charged and had appeared in court.
“With regard to the motor vehicle collision you enquired about, the case was thoroughly investigated and the case docket was forwarded to the DPP for a decision, as we do with all vehicle collisions,” Naicker said. “As with most vehicle collisions, the DPP has declined to prosecute either of the two drivers. The case was not closed by police.
“According to the doctors’ reports in the docket, both drivers sustained slight injuries and were treated and discharged on the same day. There was no evidence of any one of the drivers being crippled,” Naicker said.
“We would not want to comment on any allegations levelled at any one of the drivers as we are convinced that the DPP has taken all of the evidence into consideration before making a finding.”
Radebe, who was a brigadier at the time and head of police communications in the province, allegedly collided with the minibus taxi driven by Phakathi.
She was on her way to a Women in Dialogue workshop, hosted by the police, when the accident happened on Wally Hayward Drive, in Ashburton.
NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mahaga for the past week has not responded despite several promises to give feedback.