'It was too dark to see driver'

NONE of the state witnesses called to testify against Durban socialite and businessman Prince Sifiso Zulu saw the driver of his X5 BMW that was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Durban in March last year.

Zulu, who is facing two culpable homicide charges, appeared in the Durban magistrate's court yesterday. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The charges stem from the crash involving his BMW and a 4x4 Mitsubishi double cab transporting members of the Soul Harbour Ministries Church.

Two members of the church were killed and 10 others injured.

The two who died were identified as Sindisiwe Mncube and Hlengiwe Dlamini.

During his court appearance yesterday Zulu remained calm and confident, listening attentively to witnesses giving evidence.

One of the witnesses, Thami Ngema, the driver of the vehicle carrying the church members, said he had stopped because the robot was red.

When he saw an arrow indicating that he should proceed a BMW slammed into the back of his car.

"It was dark and I did not see the person driving the vehicle."

Another witness, Thobeka Mthethwa, said she was sitting in the passenger seat just behind the driver when the accident happened.

She said she sustained injuries to her hip, arm and neck.

"All were minor injuries as a result of which I spent one day at the hospital before being discharged."

When Zulu's lawyer, Wandile Mahlungulu, asked her if she saw the driver of the vehicle, she emphatically said "no".

Another state witness, Nomfundo Mncube, said she was sitting in the back of the vehicle when it was hit by the BMW.

"I was seated with the two who have since died," she said.

"I don't remember much about the incident because I only regained my consciousness in hospital.

"I suffered a broken leg, which was broken at the thigh, and head injuries that required stitches."

Mncube said she had been hospitalised from March 29 to April 23.

"At the time of the incident I was a student at a technikon and I had to deregister and sit at home for the whole year before registering again because I was not fit to go back and study," she said.

The state is expected to call 18 witnesses. The case was still continuing yesterday afternoon.