A Durban businessman on Friday night described how a blue-light cavalcade rocked the family vehicle as it overtook them shortly before crashing, resulting in the death of the deputy mayor of the uThungulu district municipality, Thulani Mashaba, and two bodyguards.
Ryan Cox, 41, had been at his mother’s house in Morningside on Thursday night for supper and he’d had a beer with the meal so his wife then drove the family’s Jeep Compass with their two daughters back to their home in Ballito.
He said the rain was really “bucketing” down after they had passed through the tollgate before Ballito and they were travelling in the slow lane at about 90km/h when the cavalcade with blue lights flashing came hurtling past them going he estimated at double their speed.
He turned to his wife and said: “These guys are really pushing their luck - there’s going to be a crash.”
Shortly after that they came around a corner and ahead they saw one car had gone off the road and rolled while the other was stopped on the shoulder above.
He said the next second they hit the same large puddle in the road and their car also aquaplaned in spite of only doing 90km/h.
He said he was very sad about the deaths of the men but was extremely worried about the fact that his eldest daughter was about to get her driving licence with people travelling at such high speeds.
IPSS Rescue operations manager Paul Herbst confirmed that the accident happened around 10pm on Thursday night near Ballito in the north-bound lane.
He said witnesses told paramedics the vehicle hit a puddle before rolling, ejecting all three occupants.
Mashaba was travelling to Richard’s Bay from the King Shaka Airport.
Earlier this year it was reported that the Hawks were investigating a plot to kill Mashaba.
According to press reports an alleged hitman was shot and killed in a gun battle in Hluluwe.
“Police recovered some damning evidence from the (dead) hitman’s cellphone,” said a Hawks officer who referred further queries to his commander, Major-General Johan Booysen.
“It’s nothing new. It’s been going on for some time, even before our regional conference,” Mashaba said at the time. “I think it’s now the third attempt.
“It started last year when two heavily armed people broke into my house while I was asleep and stole my documents. There was then a fire which I managed to escape.
“The provincial leadership knows.”
Pretoria News Weeekend