Accident victim's charges changed, again
Updated: Feb 24
By Zolile Mate and Khuthala Nandipha
Police charges for the death of six-year old Aziphezi Mrwashu have changed from driving without a licence; to reckless and negligent driving; then culpable homicide and now grievous bodily harm in just one month.
Aziphezi, who wanted to become a policeman, was tragically killed by a 40-something year old driver on December 31, 2019, after a spinning session gone wrong. The driver lost control of his BMW and crashed into the boy who had been playing with his friends inside his home yard.
The driver was arrested by the community, who claims he was drunk. He was handed over to the Scenery Park police and charged with driving without a licence and released on a fine on the same day, while Aziphezi was fighting for his life at Frere Hospital.
Mrwashu was rushed to hospital by his father and an eye witness after the driver deserted the crime scene. The boy died on the same evening from severe head injuries.
As of February 3, 2020, Captain Khaya Tonjeni confirmed that the charge is now grievous bodily harm and the suspect has not yet been arrested. “The police do not arrest to investigate but investigate to arrest. The suspect was not arrested as he is known, he is not a flight risk and police will be able to locate him should a need arise,” said Colonel Sibongile Soci, spokesperson for SAPS in the Eastern Cape.
Two weeks after the incident, the suspect visited the Mrwashu family accompanied by his own family, to apologise for their loss and his role in it. According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), this serves as a confession. “There are a lot of irregularities in this case. How can the suspect still be free after he confessed to the family and there are eye witnesses to the incident,” said a source in the NPA who wishes to remain anonymous.
Soci confirmed that the investigation on this matter is ongoing and once completed, a decision will be taken whether to prosecute or not.
“SAPS detectives endeavour to ensure that they do not leave anything out. That is done to guarantee that suspect/s is/are put in jail for a very long time. I hope this covers all the uncertainties and we now consider the matter closed and no further enquiries on the matter will be entertained,” she concluded.
Bax Kaplan Russell Incorporated attorney, Liaan Murray said the accused was supposed to have been detained and appeared in court immediately for culpable homicide because he negligently killed a person. He added that it is against the law to spin a vehicle in a public community road.
At least five eye witnesses have availed themselves but the investigating officer has not yet had the time to take their statements. Instead, the police have requested that anyone who has information about this incident must please make contact with them.
An eye witness, who cannot be named as he is yet to make an official police statement, says he was visiting his sister in Reeston when he saw the incident. He claims he told the police on the day of the incident that he saw everything and they said, “ok”.
He said the driver reversed out of the mechanic’s yard into the public road at a very high speed. He spun his car twice, and on the third round, he lost control. “He hit the boy and the two houses. He restarted the car and drove back to the mechanic’s yard. I went to see the child who was still breathing with a deep cut in the head,” he said. “The suspect was drunk and had no driver’s licence.”
The indigent Mrwashu family buried their son through donations after the suspect and his family offered no support.