Durban - A Pinetown magistrate on Thursday ordered the immediate arrest of a flying squad policeman who stands accused of assaulting a motorist, and of malicious injury to property after a road rage incident last year.
Magistrate Moon Lalbahadur gave authority for the immediate arrest of policeman Mduduzi Mngoma after he failed to appear in court for the start of his trial, which had been marked on the court roll as a preferential matter following several earlier postponements.
A motorist, Bell Curve, and a witness, Brett Allan, who spoke to the Daily News after the incident, have alleged that Mngoma, who wore plain clothes while driving an SAPS flatbed truck down the M13 in Pinetown last May, tried to ram Curve off the road.
All three vehicles then took the St John’s off-ramp turn-off and an altercation followed.
Allan said Mngoma started “screaming and shouting and going nuts”, and he stopped his car and got out to assist Curve, who was alone in his vehicle.
Allan said he pulled the truck driver around and started shouting at him for his alleged reckless driving.
Allan alleged that Mngoma “lost it” and a shouting match ensued before Mngoma showed him his firearm under his jersey and warned: “I will (expletive) you up… you don’t know me.” He then allegedly pushed Allan against Curve’s car, causing damage to the bodywork.
The altercation was captured on video with a cellphone. The Daily News has a copy of the video.
Prosecutor Given Shingange said the State had been ready to start the trial in January, and again in March, when the accused had appeared in court, but the matter had initially been postponed because the defence had wanted to view the video footage and latterly because the defence attorney had been attending a funeral.
Shingange said the State was of the view that the defence was “unreasonably trying to delay” the court process, and witnesses, one of whom had to travel from Johannesburg to appear in court, had suffered prejudice and unnecessary costs.
Defence attorney Evashan Pillay asked the judge to stay the arrest warrant because Mngoma had an “excuse” as his wife had advised that he had “a stomach bug and a bad flu virus”, which was why he was not present.
“There have been delays, but the accused has always been present in court at previous occasions,” Pillay said.
In declining to stay the warrant, Lalbahadur said it was “unfortunate” that Mngoma had not appear-ed in court. “This would appear to be a continual trend. I take a very strong view of this type of behaviour. Everyone has the right to speedy justice and the accused has the right to have his day in court,” Lalbahadur said.
“I will not have the court used as a tool for the shenanigans of the accused.”
Lalbahadur ordered that Mngoma be arrested immediately and held in custody until a new trial date could be set.