Johannesburg - A witness to the supercar crash that killed two men, including a police officer, believes that the incident was “dodgy” and the actions of police on the scene were “suspicious”.
The witness, who was at the 4am crash scene for a while in a white car but was never approached for a witness statement, called Eyewitness News to report what he had seen. Only several hours after this did police contact him.
Police said the driver of the Audi R8 V10, which sells from about R1.9 million, sped off while an officer was searching his car at the corner of Rivonia Road and Grayston Drive – with the officer in the car.
They claimed that a second officer in a police van then chased the supercar for 7km until the Audi lost control and hit a wall, a tree and a lamp-post, breaking into three pieces.
Both the driver of the Audi and the officer were killed on impact.
The Audi driver has been named by police as Areff Haffejee.
Police have yet to release the name of the policeman who died.
Haffejee’s family could not be reached for comment.
The police have been unable to explain what happened.
But the witness, who is identified only as Sly, said he saw the incident and believes there may have been police involvement.
“I don’t buy that story that this was a cop kidnapped by a drug dealer.
“I looked that guy in the eyes shortly before he died and he was very relaxed in the passenger seat.
“He had his elbow resting out the window, his seat was rolled back a bit and he was chilling.
“If you are being kidnapped, you call out for help or try and get out of the car,” Sly said.
Sly said he and a friend were driving down Oxford Road at about 4am after a night out.
They stopped at a red light when the R8, which had been driving “really fast”, pulled up next to them.
It was then that he made eye contact with the policeman in the passenger seat.
“The light turned green, we all pulled off and a short while later a cop car came cruising along behind them,” Sly said, adding that the police vehicle appeared to be accompanying the Audi rather than chasing it because the flashing lights and siren were not activated.
For several kilometres along Oxford Road, the Audi would repeatedly speed up and then slow down as he and the tailing police car caught up.
It did not look anything like a chase, he said.
“The cops were watching this speeding going on and I was wondering why they weren’t doing anything about it.”
During one of the incidents of sudden acceleration, the driver of the Audi lost control and crashed.
“It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life,” Sly said, adding that he stopped immediately, grateful that there were police on the scene to take charge.
“My friend and I watched them get out and I was expecting them to call for back-up.
“I mean Rosebank Clinic was nearby, the police station was there.
“But they just had a conversation among themselves.
“They were pretty freaked out and it was clear they knew the guys in the crash,” Sly said.
“It was then that we realised something very dodgy was going on. I mean, this was a situation where the sum of what was going on was much greater than us,” Sly said, explaining why he and his friend then left.
“They saw us there for sure. I mean I was stopped, in a white car,” he said, explaining his concern at not having been approached for a statement on the scene.
“It was only after I called 702 that the guys from Morningside managed to get my number and call me.”
Police admitted that the officer had been in the passenger seat of the two-door car, which goes against protocol.
“That will form part of our investigation,” said Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.
He confirmed that the officer was in full uniform and had his police-issued handgun on him.
When asked why the officer didn’t use his gun to force the man to pull over, Dlamini said: “I don’t know, I cannot answer for him.”
Dlamini said the officers had found a small amount of dagga in the car during their search.
Dr Johan Burger, a senior researcher from the Institute for Security Studies, said it did not sound as though the officer had followed police protocol, and |that it would be “completely irresponsible” for the officer to be in the car with the driver.
Dlamini said “everything” would be investigated, including the police’s conduct.
The scenario raises suspicion that the officers possibly asked the driver for a bribe and were heading for an ATM or his home.
“I cannot confirm that,” said Dlamini when asked about this.
He couldn’t give an exact time for the events, but thought the Audi had been pulled over in Sandton before 4am.
The Star found CCTV footage from a business on Oxford Road at the intersection with Corlett Drive – which is on the direct route between where the Audi was stopped and the crash site.
This footage is grainy, but seems to indicate a black car travelling south along Oxford Road at 4.07am, followed by an SAPS van.
The footage is in colour. The police van does not appear to have turned on its flashing blue lights – usually used to indicate an emergency or chase – and the vehicles do not appear to be involved in a high-speed chase. Instead they seem to be travelling at a similar speed to other vehicles.
Staff at the business – and several others with CCTV cameras along the route – said police had not asked to view the footage.
When asked about the footage, Dlamini said it would be investigated. He asked anyone with information to contact the police.
On Thursday morning dozens of police officers watched as forensic investigators combed the scene.
The front end of the car rested on the pavement, and the back section was a few metres behind it. The third piece – the driver’s seat and door – rested in the middle of Oxford Road. Next to the driver’s seat was a pool of blood. The passenger side of the front section was wrapped around a lamp-post.