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Mandela crash: car was roadworthy

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iol nws pic Sizwe Mankazana apr 16

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Sizwe Mankazana

Johannesburg -

The car in which former president Nelson Mandela's granddaughter Zenani was killed was roadworthy, an expert testified on Monday.

“The car was in good condition and therefore roadworthy,” accident specialist Craig Proctor-Parker told the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.

The driver of the Mercedes-Benz, Sizwe Mankazana, 25, faces a charge of culpable homicide, and another of reckless or negligent driving.

Mankazana, a friend of the Mandela family, had been taking Zenani Mandela, 13, home from a soccer world cup concert on June 11, 2010.

The car belonged to his father. They were driving to Sandton when they crashed into a barrier near the double-decker section of the M1. The steel barrier penetrated the car.

Zenani, in the back seat, was killed. Mankazana and another passenger were slightly injured, but neither went to hospital.

Proctor-Parker testified that speeding could have been the cause of the accident.

“There is a high probability the car was travelling at a speed.”

He said all the brakes were working, and road conditions were good. The road was well-lit, there were no potholes, and the car had been serviced in 2009. No environmental factors had contributed to the accident.

The speed limit on that portion of the freeway was 80km/h. It was determined that all three occupants were wearing seatbelts, said Proctor-Parker.

He gave a detailed account of the damage to the car, tyres, road and barrier. Pictures of the scene and car were handed in as evidence.

Proctor-Parker dismissed suggestions that a flat tyre caused the crash, saying there was no evidence of this.

Zenani's grandmother Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and other family members were in the public gallery. The accused, wearing a suit, made notes as the witness testified. - Sapa


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