File photo: Reuters

Pietermaritzburg- The driver of Maritzburg United soccer star Orlando Smeekes was due to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court today on a charge of murder.

The man, who cannot be named until he has appeared, was charged with the murder of 23-year-old Jake Smith after an incident at the KFC drive-through in Armitage Road early on Sunday.

He was placed under arrest on Sunday afternoon after he handed himself over to police.

Smeekes, Maritzburg United’s imported Dutch star, declined to comment on the details of the incident, but told the Daily News that he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by Smith’s murder and extended his condolences to Smith’s loved ones.

Smith was stabbed to death in front of a crowd of people at the KFC, allegedly after an altercation with Smeekes and his driver.

According to witnesses, Smeekes had allegedly accused Smith of jumping the queue when the fracas began.

It is alleged that Smith and his friend, Robin Volmink, had decided to stand at the outlet’s 24-hour drive-through window while waiting for Volmink’s girlfriend to drive up in the queue.

Smeekes, who was a passenger in another car, allegedly jumped out of his vehicle and approached Smith and Volmink, accusing them of cutting the line.

Smith allegedly denied the accusation and a verbal argument between the two men ensued.

The verbal altercation escalated into a physical one during which Smeekes’ driver allegedly joined the fray, armed with a knife.

That is when Smith was stabbed and fell to the ground. The driver allegedly sped off in the car, leaving Smeekes at the scene.

Police confirmed that Smeekes had co-operated fully with investigations and has not been charged in connection with the incident.

Daily News