THREE men involved in a horror crash in which five people died on May 24 2014, appeared in court in Komani on murder charges during the ongoing trial last week.
The Rep reported (“Ride of death” July 24 2014) that the driver and three passengers of a Toyota Avanza died, allegedly following a chase by a Quantum after the driver had picked up passengers in Cathcart Road.
The Avanza driver, Jomo Ntsendwana, had allegedly refused to offload passengers when told to do so by the taxi drivers.
The Avanza collided with an oncoming vehicle, a Toyota Verso, and all four of the Avanza occupants died on the scene following the crash.
An occupant of the Verso was also killed.
At the time, state prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa said the Quantum driver, Xolani Mfeketho, drove with Thembisile Madolo and Lazola Voyi as passengers when the late Ntsendwana picked up the passengers.
The state argued that the accused, angered by Ntsendwana’s refusal to offload the passengers, acted in common purpose, giving chase and trying to push the Avanza off the road while foreseeing the possibility of the death of the occupants of the Avanza and other road users.
Last week, the driver of the Quantum Mfeketho testified that he was not chasing the Avanza.
It also emerged in court that Mfeketho saw the Toyota Verso 100m away, before the collision happened.
Magistrate Fungile Dotwana asked why he had not applied the brakes when he saw that it was not safe to overtake the Avanza.
He told him that had he stopped his vehicle the accident would not have happened. “If you had applied brakes the vehicle could have stopped. At a distance of 100m away from your vehicle you saw there was an oncoming vehicle and it was no longer safe for you to overtake. Why did you not apply brakes to stop?”
Dotwana asked Mfeketho what prevented him from driving off the road to enable the oncoming Verso to continue driving in its correct lane. “If your Quantum was not driving in the wrong lane, the Verso would have driven through. That is simple logic.”
Mfeketho told the court he was rushing to pick up passengers in Ilinge when he tried to overtake the Avanza, to which Dotwana replied “You were very desperate to get to Ilinge to pick up passengers but you never got to them.”
Mfeketho said on realising an accident had taken place he did not continue with his trip to Ilinge. His co-accused also took to the stand.
The suspects are out on bail and the trial will continue on November 29.