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Blue-lights case: 'MEC wants, he gets'

2013-09-25 10:12

WANTS THINGS HIS WAY: Former MEC Humphrey Mmemesi is said to be someone who wants things his way, even if that means going through a red traffic light and severely injuring a motorcyclist to avoid being late for a meeting. Image: SAPA

VIP protection staff without advanced driving qualifications are allowed to drive VIP's, a court was told by a police sergeant in a case involving then Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi. "He wanted things done his way."

Krugersdorp - VIP protection guards without advanced driving qualifications are allowed to drive VIPs, the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court has been told.

This emerged during the trial of Joseph Motsamai Semitjie, accused of reckless or negligent driving and of failing to help injured motorcyclist Thomas Ferreira  who was hit by Mmemezi's car, which Semitjie was driving.

Wheels24 reported that in 2012 Ferreira was involved in a collision with the BMW being driven by Semitjie. The X5 went through a traffic light while on the left side of a yellow hard-shoulder line. Ferreira sustained head injuries and was comatose for weeks.


Semietjie, a member of the police service's VIP unit, was chauffeuring Mmemezi. Semitjie's colleague Sergeant Tshepo Lethlathle, told the court: "VIP guards who do not have proper qualifications are given state authority and are allowed to drive VIP's."

Prosecutor Micky Thesna asked Lethlathle what would be the appropriate time to switch on a vehicles' blue lights and siren. Lethlathle said this was done when demanded by the VIP passenger.

Thesna added: "So, if the VIP you are transporting instructs you to stop because he wants to buy dagga, would you follow such instructions?" Lethlathle said he did not know.

Thesna: "You are avoiding my question because you know that buying dagga is illegal, just as much as crossing a red traffic light."

During cross-examination, magistrate Abdul Khan asked Lethlathle whether it was legal to skip a red traffic light. Lethlathle said: "If you are transporting a VIP and they tell you they are late and the traffic light is red, as a driver you have to observe and warn other road users before crossing a red traffic light."

Lethlathle told the court a VIP driver's mandate was to safely transport VIPs to their destination to which Khan replied: "How safe is the VIP if a red traffic light is crossed?"


Lethlathle was asked to describe Mmemezi's character and said the MEC was "someone who wanted things done his way". "I lodged several complaints to my superiors against former MEC Mmemezi but nothing was done about the complaints."

The matter was postponed to October 17 2013 to allow the defence to subpoena another witness.

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