Another long wait for VIP bodyguard

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A VIP protection unit member and bodyguard of the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for social development Meshack Hadebe was yesterday ordered to reappear in the Camperdown regional court on February 13.

Camperdown regional court magistrate Bheki Phoswa said the case was postponed to enable the court to obtain a detailed report illustrating details of the case Constable Hlanganani Nxumalo would appear in.

Nxumalo, 28, is facing eight counts of attempted murder arising from allegations that he fired two shots at a vehicle on the N3 Highway between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on November 15 for not moving fast enough. The driver of the vehicle that was shot at lost control of his vehicle, causing it to swerve across the median and collide with an oncoming vehicle. Eight people were injured in the collision and were taken to hospital.

At the time, Nxumalo was allegedly hurrying to pick up Hadebe, who was supposed to check on the extent of the damage in the Molweni area outside Hillcrest after it was hit by a storm. Nxumalo was arrested and eight counts of attempted murder were levelled at him because of the injuries the eight victims sustained.

Nxumalo was at first refused bail by a magistrate on December 18, but he appealed against this and was granted bail of R3500 by Pietermaritzburg Judge Isaac Madondo. The case is among many brought against VIP protection unit members recently.

Two weeks ago, Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa released statistics of gravely serious charges against VIP Unit officers. Mthethwa said during the past four years 111 members of the VIP protection unit, including those responsible for protecting the president, were with crimes such as murder, attempted murder and abuse of power.

He said between 2005 and 2008 six officers faced charges of murder or attempted murder; 10 faced charges of assault, or assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm; and 26 faced driving-related charges, mostly involving reckless or negligent driving.