Official’s driver intoxicated and armed

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Durban - A driver for the KwaZulu-Natal premier, who was arrested for speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol, had also been in possession of a firearm, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Thursday.

NPA spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said Maziwinkosi Petros Gwala, who appeared briefly in the Mtunzini Magistrate's Court on Wednesday morning on charges of speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol, was also charged with being in possession of a firearm whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Gwala was released on R1000 bail.

The 42-year-old was driving on the N2 at Fairbreeze, near Mtunzini on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast on Tuesday, when he was caught allegedly doing 183km/h in a 120km/h zone.

According to a report in the Witness newspaper on Wednesday, a breathalyser test revealed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.84g/100ml, several times over the legal limit of 0.05g/100ml.

However, Ramkisson said the case against Gwala was postponed to October 15 to await the outcome of blood tests taken after his arrest. These tests would reveal his blood alcohol level.

Neither Ramkisson nor Road Traffic Inspectorate spokeswoman Zinhle Mngomezulu could confirm whether the Mercedes-Benz he was driving was his personal car or a state vehicle.

Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize was not in the car at the time. Mngomezulu said on Wednesday that the man had been travelling from Pietermaritzburg to Mtunzini, which was 230km away.

Ndabezinhle Sibiya, spokesman for the premier, said he could not comment on the incident as it “may be interpreted in some quarters as interfering with the work of law enforcement agencies”.

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