A taxi driver who fled the scene of a crash that left three Mdantsane children dead at the weekend was freed soon after he handed himself over to police on Monday.
Police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku said the 22-year-old driver handed himself over at the Mdantsane police station “late” on Monday and was released the same day without being charged.
Mzuku said police consulted with the senior public prosecutor in the Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court where “a decision was reached to complete the investigation first and refer the docket to him for a decision”.
“Soon after the decision was reached he was allowed to go. Police investigation continues,” Mzuku said.
Asked why the driver was not charged and locked up for defeating the ends of justice by fleeing the scene and going on the run from police for three days, Mzuku said: “We did not do anything unlawful by consulting with the SPP.
“We work hand in hand with the courts everyday. We open cases and we take the cases to the court.”
Mzuku declined to reveal the name of the driver and that of the taxi owner. He denied the driver was receiving preferential treatment.
The latest development in the horrific Saturday accident comes days after the family of Lilitha Mnyanda, 9 – one of the children killed on the scene – told the Daily Dispatch they had no hope the case would ever be solved.
On Sunday Lilitha’s aunt, Vuyokazi Siboyana, raised her concerns with the Daily Dispatch regarding the handling of the case.
“I know justice will never be served because this is Mdantsane.
“We gave birth to the children hoping that one day they will become something in life but their lives were cut short by someone who was [allegedly] drunk.”
The accident in question occurred shortly after 12pm on the Qumza Highway a few metres from the NU1 police station.
Witnesses on the scene said the driver of a Toyota Quantum minibus taxi travelling in the direction of Mdantsane was allegedly trying to overtake other vehicles when he lost control of his taxi.
The taxi veered off the road and hit three girls – aged between 7 and 9 – who at the time were selling sweets at the pedestrian walkway.
It continued on a downward slope and crashed into a shack and continued until it crashed and rested on a cliff.
In the taxi was a driver and his conductor who emerged uninjured before fleeing the scene.
Two of the children, Unabo Lindani, 7, and friend, Lilitha, died on the scene while the third child, Thandolwethu Lindani, 11 was rushed to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries and died.
The children will be buried in a ceremony to be held in Mdantsane on Friday.