KZN MEC in chase dramaComment on this story
Durban - Nomusa Dube-Ncube was speeding last week, and the Sunday Tribune has the evidence.
Police records show the private vehicle of MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dube-Ncube travelled, blue light flashing, 95km from Hidcote to Pietermaritzburg on the N3 in 36 minutes – averaging 160km/h. This includes stopping at the Mooi River toll plaza.
Thinking criminals were using the blue light, heavily armed police teams finally brought the car to a stop in Pietermaritzburg.
The MEC initially denied, through her spokesman Lennox Mabaso, that she was speeding.
Mabaso said the MEC was “traumatised” by the heavily armed police response
This week the Sunday Tribune spoke to policemen who tailed her car as it whizzed along the highway and has seen reports from police tracking equipment in the vehicles that pursued her last Thursday.
It authenticates claims by policemen that they drove at 140km/h in a 100km/h zone to keep up with her car.
Dube was driving in a silver Land Rover owned by her husband (businessman S’bu Ncube). She was with two men, presumably a bodyguard and the driver.
The SUV, registration NU 717, was clocked as suspicious by a police reservist at Hidcote, near Estcourt, about 95km from Pietermaritzburg. The reservist, who asked to remain anonymous, was alarmed at the sight of the SUV screaming down the highway.
He noted the time as 2.10pm and broadcast the registration number to fellow officers. The police checked the registration number and established the SUV was not a state vehicle. Fearing that the car, with tinted windows and a flashing blue light, was being used by criminals, they mobilised officers along the N3 to intercept it.
The policemen, including members of the SAPS Tactical Response Team, pulled the car over on the N3 outside Pietermaritzburg (between Church and Ortman roads) at 2.46pm.
About 14 heavily armed policemen in three vehicles forced Dube’s SUV to stop. They surrounded the vehicle, guns trained at the tinted windows. The southbound freeway was closed.
An angry policeman at the scene said the MEC put their lives at risk.
“The MEC says that she was traumatised. She should try chasing down an unmarked car and see how she feels. To blame the police is absurd. Criminals have taken to using blue lights and we took every precaution when confronting the vehicle. It was to ensure our own safety.”
Road Traffic Inspectorate and Durban Metro Police sources this week provided confirmation that NU 717 had been issued with 17 speeding tickets over the last 18 months. The fines total R3 150.
The fines, dated between November 2012 and November 2013, have been paid.
DA spokesman George Mari was livid about Dube-Ncube’s “flagrant disregard” for the law.
“We will ask parliamentary questions to find out what speed she was travelling and who paid the fines that she incurred. She is in the vehicle and is capable of telling her driver to slow down.”
IFP KZN Leader Blessed Gwala said Dube-Ncube’s need for speed did not set a good example.
“The cabinet has rallied behind Transport MEC Willies Mchunu in his efforts to combat speeding and road deaths,” he said.
“Even if she was being driven, the MEC is not in the boot; she can see how fast they are going and warn the person not to behave that way.”
Mabaso, who initially said it was “utter nonsense” that the MEC was speeding, said yesterday Dube-Ncube noted with growing concern the concerted effort to portray her as a habitual violator of traffic rules. “The explanation by the police on their heavy-handed operation, which also involved the mobilisation of ambulance services, was that they were conducting a highway patrol and were doing routine checks because of the high incidence of crime in which criminals impersonate policemen and flash blue lights.
“The MEC, although traumatised, trusted the bona fides of the police and allowed them to do their work without interference, appreciating the sophisticated manner in which criminals operate at times,” Mabaso said.
He said the reason they had used the blue light was because they had noticed a “suspicious vehicle” following them. He said that the VIP Protection officer had not been driving because he was ill.
Mabaso said that the MEC was the victim of a smear campaign and that while she incurred speeding fines, they were always paid promptly.
The Sunday Tribune established from traffic authorities this week that a speeding fine for Dube-Ncube was being processed.
Road Traffic Inspectorate spokeswoman Zinhle Mngomezulu would not comment on whether Dube-Ncube’s driver had been charged.