MEC lashed for ‘covering up’ crash

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IOL Ntombi Mekgwe INLSA Gauteng MEC for Health Ntombi Mekgwe

The Gauteng DA has accused MEC for Health Ntombi Mekgwe of covering up her bodyguards’ involvement in an accident using a state vehicle.

The accusations against Mekgwe followed a Beeld story on Monday indicating that two bodyguards driving a BMW X5 had crashed into a Mercedes-Benz on July 15 last year.

The newspaper reported that the two guards had driven past a crossing and hit the car.

Beeld said the government had spent R90 000 on the car three months before the accident, to fit it with blue lights and dark windows.

The guards were reported to be on the way to OR Tambo International Airport to fetch Mekgwe when they collided with Rina Bowie, of Benoni.

DA spokeswoman on community safety Kate Lorimer said: “The DA is shocked at the cover-up of a blue-light accident involving Gauteng MEC Ntombi Mekgwe’s official vehicle, which has been kept a secret for almost a year.”

“In a media report today, it has been revealed that Mekgwe’s official vehicle was in an accident on (July 15), 2011.

“The driver of the MEC’s vehicle at the time and his companion should be charged and disciplined immediately.

“It is completely unacceptable that they were speeding to the airport to fetch the MEC. This incident can in no way be claimed to have been an emergency as the arrival time of the MEC’s flight would have been known to the security detail.”

Lorimer said that what had made matters worse was that it seemed the docket had gone missing.

“I call on provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros to immediately give us answers. The SAPS cannot continue to protect their own in these cases.

“It is time Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and her MECs start taking responsibility for the way they allow their security details to behave.

“We have already had a tragic blue-light accident involving Thomas Ferreira and MEC Humphrey Mmemezi’s official vehicle. Mrs Bowie was extremely lucky to have come away unscathed, and future blue-light abuse needs to be curbed,” said Lorimer.

Reacting to the allegations, Mekgwe’s spokesman, Simon Zwane, said: “It is preposterous to suggest that there was a cover-up of this incident.

“All steps required in such instances, such as reporting the matter at the nearest police station, were taken. Statements were duly submitted to the police, explaining how the accident occurred.

“These would not have been done if there was an intention to cover up or hide the incident. The handling of dockets at police stations is completely outside the sphere of influence of the department of health and we cannot comment on it,” Zwane said.

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