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'Blue-light' driver back in court

2013-09-05 11:00

FACING THE MUSIC: Former Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi's driver Joseph Semitjie will appear in court again on Thursday for charges of negligent driving when he knocked over Thomas Ferreira in 2011. Image: News24

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Former Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi's driver will appear again in the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of negligent driving. He hit a then matric-aged motorcyclist in 2011.

Kurgersdorp - Former Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi's driver was to appear again in the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court today (Sept 5).

Joseph Motsamai Semitjie is accused of reckless or negligent driving and failing to assist an injured person after a 2011 collision involving Thomas Ferreira. His boss was late for a meeting.

RED LIGHT DISREGARDED

Ferreira was knocked off his motorcycle by the official car, a BMW X5 belonging to human settlements MEC Humphrey Mmemezi on November 5, 2011. The car had been driven left of the yellow line in Paardekraal Drive and disregarded a red light, the court heard on  Sept 4, 2013.

The case against Semitjie was postponed to Thursday by magistrate Abdul Khan to allow the defence to bring in more witnesses.

Wheels24 reported in 2011 that Ferreira has permanent brain damage and three days after the incident Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the province would bear the medical costs. At the time Ferrerira’s rehabilitation would have cost R120 000 a month, excluding medication, but Mokonyane backed down on her payment promise. Expenses had by then (April 2012) exceeded R1-million.

The court heard on Wednesday that Semitjie did not stop at a red traffic light at the Paardekraal intersection in Krugersdorp. His boss, Mmemezi, was late for a meeting.

'SLOW AND CAUTIOUS'

He told the court the collision could have been avoided had Ferreira, who was riding a motorbike, used the right lane. It later emerged that Semitjie had not passed an advanced driver's test.

Prosecutor Mickey Thesna asked: "If you did not pass your advanced driving course, who gave you the authority to drive a state vehicle?"

Semitjie said his superior, who had tested his driving skills, had. He told the court he left Mmemezi's house around 9.30am but the MEC should have been at the meeting at 9am.

Semitjie said: "I did not stop at the traffic light, but I was slow and cautious.”

Prosecutor Mickey Thesna asked Semitjie what the emergency was. Semitjie replied: "When you drive such high-profile people they tell you that they are late for a meeting, you apply your own discretion as what to do next.”

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