An unlicensed driver who allegedly caused the death of two people, including a member of the Grens Hoërskool cricket first team, pleaded not guilty in the East London Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
The smash between the school’s minibus and a Ford Laser hatchback driven by Themba Kundulu, 38, occurred on the afternoon of October 16 on the corner of R72 and R347 roads.
The school bus, transporting the cricket team, was returning from a tournament in Uitenhage when it collided with the Ford.
Grens Grade 9 pupil, Clinton Bosman, and four-year-old Onisa Veletshona, who was travelling in Kundulu’s car died on the scene.
The state yesterday charged Kundulu with five counts, including two counts of culpable homicide, reckless and negligent driving, driving while under the influence and driving without a licence.
He pleaded not guilty on the charges of culpable homicide and drunken driving and reckless and negligent driving.
He has, however, admitted he did not have a driver’s licence and that his Ford was overloaded.
The accused has been in prison since his arrest last month after the state feared he would evade his trial.
The state yesterday called Warrant Officer Bruce Taylor of the East London SAPS Collisions Unit who testified before magistrate Annamarie Elliot that the vehicle Kundulu was driving was certified to carry five people including the driver, but was carrying 10 people.
“Your worship, there were six adults and four children in the Ford when the accident occurred,” Taylor said, adding the four children were squashed into the vehicle’s boot.
The police officer said the Grens minibus was carrying 13 people including the driver. It had a trailer carrying the passengers’ luggage, he added.
He said Kundulu was immediately arrested on the scene for culpable homicide and driving while under the influence.
Taylor took the court through 60 pictures of the accident scene which he took at the scene from different angles.
He said he arrived at the scene after the accident and found the two vehicles 23m apart.
He had ordered that the two vehicles be towed and kept in police custody for the purpose of inspection.
“We wanted to check whether there were defects on the vehicles that might have contributed to the accident, but we did not find any.
“Upon further inspection on the Ford we noticed that the vehicle VIN number was tampered with and the secret tag number of the vehicle revealed that it was stolen in Vanderbijlpark and that the owner was based in Vereeniging,” Taylor said.
After Taylor’s evidence was heard, the state called Giselle Gill, who was driving behind the minibus when the accident occurred.
She said she was following a safe distance behind the minibus when she noticed a Ford Laser ahead taking the King William’s Town turnoff without stopping or indicating.
“We were travelling in the direction of East London and the Ford was travelling in the direction of Port Alfred when it suddenly turned. The driver of the minibus veered off the road to avoid colliding with the Ford, but he hit it and the bus collided with a tree,” Gill said.
“As the accident occurred the Ford spun on the road and I saw two children ejected from it. I stopped immediately and went to see the two children lying on the road. The driver of the minibus and a boy in the front seat managed to come out too.
“The driver of the Ford, who is now before the court, also got out of the car and I could smell alcohol on him. He was drunk. He couldn’t even stand. He collapsed on the road and mumbled some words. He did not collapse because he was injured.”
“Who had a right of way?” the magistrate asked Gill, who responded by saying: “The minibus going towards East London.”
The trial was postponed until December 4 for further evidence. — email@example.com