KwaZulu Natal - Durban businessman and socialite Sifiso Zulu is closer to being released from prison after his reconciliation with some of the 10 people who survived the fatal car crash he caused in 2008.
But two survivors, Thami and Dudu Ngema, have denied being invited by the parole board or Department of Correctional Services to meet Zulu.
Two people died when Zulu, in his BMW X5, jumped a red traffic light in Durban and slammed into a bakkie carrying 12 Soul’s Harbour Ministries Church congregants.
The department has confirmed it is considering releasing Zulu once it is given the go-ahead by the parole board.
His pending release was confirmed this weekend by the department’s Nokuthula Zikhali, who said the parole board was satisfied there had been reconciliation between Zulu and his victims.
Dudu, who now uses a walking stick, said she received a call from Correctional Services late last year telling her about the possibility of a meeting, but it did not take place and she was not contacted again.
Her husband said he would oppose Zulu’s parole.
“My wife was left with a spinal injury and is now permanently disabled. My car was written off and I had to continue paying for it.”
Zikhali said Zulu met the victims and their families, first at Ncome Prison in Vryheid and then later in Melmoth Prison, and it was clear he was remorseful.
The last meeting between Zulu and the victims was part of the department’s KZN Victim-Offender Dialogue in Richards Bay in December. There, Zulu confessed to his offences, which he had denied in the trial.
Ngema said he did not know about those meetings.
“I’m going to ask for the review of the case based on his (Richards Bay) confession because he deserved a harsher sentence,” he said.
Zikhali said: “Correctional Services has met the victims and they have agreed to forgive Zulu. Those who are denying the meetings have their own agendas which I’m not prepare to entertain.”
She insisted the Ngemas met Zulu in Melmoth.
Zulu’s lawyer Lonwabo Dandala said his client was eagerly awaiting the outcome of his parole application but had had a “happy time” in prison learning farming skills and sharing his business knowledge with fellow inmates.
“Zulu has shown remorse and commitment to all prison programmes,” said Dandala.
Zulu is serving five years for culpable homicide, suspended for two years. He went to jail in May last year.