Tyre failure in Mandela crash highlighted in court
THE lawyer representing the young driver who was behind the wheel of the luxury car in which the great-granddaughter of former president Nelson Mandela was killed said that tyre failure - and not speed - could have been the major factor contributing to the crash.
Defence advocate Kenny Oldwage, during cross-examination of accident specialist Craig Proctor-Parker in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court - said the Mercedes-Benz his client Sizwe Mankazana had been travelling in was driving at a moderate speed and not in excess of 100km/h.
"Having approached the curve, the vehicle veered to the left and in no time it had struck the wall," Oldwage said.
Mankazana, 25, has pleaded not guilty to charges of culpable homicide, reckless and negligent driving, and drunk driving.
Zenani Mandela, 13, died in the car accident after attending the opening concert of the 2010 Soccer World Cup at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Mankazana, who was driving the young girl home, allegedly smashed into a barrier on the M1 freeway. The teenager, asleep on the back seat, died at the scene. Mankazana's blood-alcohol level is alleged to have been three times over the legal limit.
Oldwage did not mince his words yesterday when he criticised state witness and accident specialist Proctor-Parker for being dishonest in making erroneous calculations and for misleading the court.
Proctor-Parker had testified that critical speed was the major contributing factor of the crash and gave an estimation that the critical speed that the car had been travelling at was 162km/h.
However, Oldwage told him his calculations of the critical speed were wrong and that Mankazana was travelling at a speed of 100km/h.
"In fact, the wheel was entirely in a state of disrepair. I want to establish from you why you concealed this from your report," Oldwage asked. "I put it to you that if proper inspection and examination of the tyre had been conducted, we would not be standing here today. This client of mine has been in absolute turmoil."
Proctor-Parker said he did not have the mandate or financial means to take a tyre to be examined.
Oldwage said Mankazana, after hitting the wall, felt two jolts to the car, resulting in it coming to a stop.
"Although I cannot state that with certainty, it is possible that the vehicle could have (been) spiked," said Proctor-Parker.
The hearing is continuing.