A bodyguard and driver of Buffalo City mayor Xola Pakati has failed in his bid to set aside his 2014 conviction of attempted murder.
In 2011‚ Athini Mlawu drove over a man and hit a woman after being punched to the ground by Anele Tsapo during a brawl over a woman at a tavern in Duncan Village‚ East London.
Mlawu drove over resident Yonela Lumkwana in a fit of rage after mistaking him for Tsapo. He also hit Lindokuhle Twana‚ who sustained minor injuries.
Lumkwana fell and was dragged under the vehicle until it collided with the boundary wall of the tavern.
Mlawu’s passenger Siyabonga Titi got out of the vehicle‚ went towards Lumkwana‚ and allegedly said “No‚ this is not the one we are looking for”.
Mlawu was convicted by the East London Regional Court in 2014 for attempted murder for driving over Lumkwana‚ and for negligent driving for hitting Twana. He was sentenced to a six-year jail term in 2014.
Since his conviction‚ Mlawu has continued being in the employ of the municipality and is responsible for the security and transport of the executive mayor – despite the court order that his driver’s licence be suspended for 18 months.
Last year‚ the municipality said its hands were tied because Mlawu had appealed against his conviction.
But last week‚ the high court in Grahamstown dismissed Mlawu’s appeal.
“In all the circumstances‚ there is no reason to interfere with any of the factual findings made by the magistrate or the credibility of the findings that he made in respect of the witnesses‚” Judge Gerald Bloem said.
The high court said the probabilities were that it could not be said that Mlawu’s version – that he swerved his vehicle to avoid colliding with Lumkwana – was reasonably possibly true.
“That being the case‚ there is no reason to interfere with the magistrate’s findings that the state proved beyond reasonable doubt that [Mlawu] intended to kill Lumkwana and that the collision with Twana was caused by his negligent driving‚” said Judge Gerald Bloem.
Judge Glen Goosen agreed with this judgment.
Buffalo City has promised to respond to TimesLive’s questions.
Source: TMG Digital.