Family blames blue lights for journalist's death
THE family of former SABC radio and TV journalist Tim Ncube, who was killed in a head-on collision with a VIP protection officer, is blaming the blue light vehicle driver for his death.
Ncube died when the driver of a blue-light vehicle, part of Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini's convoy, crashed into his car yesterday. Both Ncube and the driver, Sergeant Thembinkosi Mpanza, died on the scene. The king was not hurt.
Family spokesman Sbu Ncube said: "The VIP protection officer overtook on the on-coming traffic lane ... and this is negligence. The fact that the road is a two-way and the blue-light driver had to cross to the other side to overtake was totally careless from his part."
Ncube said they, however, find solace in the fact that the royal family is sharing their loss. "They even sent someone from the scene to meet the family. This shows that they share our loss. Also, the king was very close to our brother and we are constantly engaging with them as we prepare for the funeral," he said.
Royal family spokesman Prince Mbonisi Zulu said: "The royal family is in pain after the death of both Mpanza and Ncube, who had worked with the king for many years."
Prince Zulu said the king had assigned representatives from the royal family to the families of the victims to send his condolences.
The accident took place in a 60-80km/h zone near the township of KwaMsane, near Mtubatuba. It is unclear if either of the cars was speeding. However, the damage to both vehicles was extensive. A third vehicle crashed into the wreckage.
Three other people were injured.
KwaZulu-Natal department of transport spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said the MEC, Willies Mchunu, has instituted investigation into the cause of the accident.
"It's a horrific incident and we want to get to the bottom of what exactly transpired," said Ncalane. "Last week, Mchunu met with all VIP protection drivers and spoke to them about how they should conduct themselves (on the roads)."
Premier Zweli Mkhize also sent his condolences to the families.
The DA said the accident should finally "hit home" for provincial government authorities.
"That the escort vehicle was not in contact with the convoy and speeding to catch up is another very serious violation. The bottom line is that no VIP convoy should ever put lives at risk, and they need to act immediately to end this," the party said.
IFP spokesman on transport, Eric Lucas, described the deaths as "a loss to the nation".