MEC’s crash costs R100 000
Gauteng MEC for local Government and Housing Humphrey Mmemezi has been involved in an accident during which a state car sustained damages of more than R100 000.
Now the insurance company responsible for the protection of provincial state assets won’t pay up.
Senior departmental officers say the company is refusing to pay because Mmemezi has not produced an accident report to set in motion the processes for a payout for repairs to the damage.
The car, a BMW X5, is now gathering dust at the departmental parking lot.
The accident took place on November 11 last year in Mzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal.
The crash happened six days after Mmemezi’s similar official vehicle knocked Thomas Ferreira, 18, off his motorcycle.
Ferreira suffered serious head injuries and is undergoing rehabilitation at the Riverfield Lodge Rehabilitation Centre in Fourways.
Witnesses alleged that Mmemezi’s vehicle had jumped a red light and hit Ferreira.
It was also reported that Mmemezi was in the vehicle during the crash, but had to be whisked away from the scene by two bodyguards.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane then offered to pay for Ferreira’s medical costs.
The police have since charged the driver with reckless driving and negligence, but last month Mmemezi asked residents to treat the Ferreira incident as “an accident just like any other”.
He told a newspaper that “people should not be ridiculous and politicise this accident just because a blue light (vehicle) was involved.”
On February 3, DA MPL Fred Nel served Mmemezi with parliamentary questions regarding details of his involvement in the KZN crash. He wanted to know the make and value of the vehicle, including its whereabouts since the accident.
The DA MPL also wanted to know when the accident was reported to the department and the police respectively, and what the cause of the accident was.
The DA also wanted to know the cost of repairs to the vehicle and the driver’s details.
In his initial undated response, Mmemezi admits that he was the driver of a 2008 BMW X5 valued at between R422 800 and R472 002.
Mmemezi confirms that the car was in the parking lot of his department, saying it was involved in a minor accident in Mzimkhulu on November 11.
“There was a slow-moving minibus taxi that was indicating as if it was going to turn left and moving very slowly (almost stopping), and suddenly it decided to turn right when I was overtaking and hit (my) left rear door.”
Asked what the cost of repairs was, Mmemezi said the “cost will only be determined once the car is fully repaired”.
But officials in his office disagree.
They told The Star that it would cost their department R108 000 to repair the car, saying: “We can’t claim from the insurance without an accident report.”
Intriguingly, however, Mmemezi submitted an internal report, claiming that the accident report was attached to it.
But Nel said he had not received an accident report from Mmemezi.
“I would also be interested to know why the insurance does not want to pay out,” Nel said.
“Our unconfirmed information is that a backyard mechanic tried to repair the damage first, but we have no proof of this, only tip-off information. This may be the reason,” Nel said.
Mzimkhulu police told The Star on Thursday that they have no record of a Joburg car being involved in an accident on November 11.
Gauteng local government and housing spokesman Motsamai Motlhaolwa said Mmemezi had been attending the cleansing ritual (happens after death) of the son of one of the great leaders of the 1960 Pondoland revolt leader when the accident occurred.
“As a leader of the ANC and originating from that area, Mmemezi went back to be with this family of a hero. Thirty-three people from Pondoland were hanged in Pretoria because of their participation in a peaceful meeting, which was turned violent by the brutal apartheid police force.
“Mmemezi was very instrumental in restoring the dignity of those hanged heroes and heroines,” Motlhaolwa said. - The Star