National News

SA shares Mandela's grief

2010-06-11 17:01

Johannesburg - The man arrested for alleged drunk driving after an accident which killed former president Nelson Mandela's great-grandchild will not appear in court on Friday as expected because the case was struck off the roll, Gauteng police said.

Brigadier Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said: "The case has been struck off the role for further investigation."

Mandela's great-grandchild Zenani was killed two days after her thirteenth birthday, on her way home from the Soccer World Cup concert in Orlando Stadium early on Friday.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said the arrested man was a relative of the teenager, but neither the foundation nor the police wanted to say who it was, or give details on who the female passenger was.

The driver was also to have faced a charge of culpable homicide at an expected appearance at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.

Condolences to the family

On hearing of the accident Mandela decided it would be inappropriate to attend the World Cup opening ceremony or the game on Friday afternoon.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the Soccer World Cup local organising committee sent condolences to the family.

"On behalf of everyone at the Organising Committee, I would like to express my condolences to the Mandela family. Please know that you will all be in our thoughts today," said chairperson Irvin Khoza.

He said that last year Zenani did them the honour of carrying the FIFA Confederations Cup trophy onto the podium at the final at Ellis Park on June 28.

"We are saddened to hear of her tragic passing and will remember her fondly," he said.

Blatter wrote to Mandela saying they understood that he would not be able to attend the opening ceremony given the tragic circumstances.

"I woke this morning to hear the unspeakably tragic news," Blatter was quoted as saying in a letter to Mandela.

"I am stunned as I sit here, I cannot understand it and I simply cannot find words to express my sadness," he said, adding that they "fully understand" that he will not able to attend as hoped.

'Nation shares the family's loss'

President Jacob Zuma also extended condolences saying: "The nation shares your loss and mourns with you, especially on the day on which our dreams and hopes come alive in the opening of the first FIFA World Cup on African soil."

Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had also attended the concert separately and had to be rushed to hospital to be treated for shock on hearing the news.

Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele sent condolences and appealed to road users to obey the rules of the road.

The ANC and the Congress of SA Trade Unions also extended their sympathy to Zenani's family.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said: "It is heart-wrenching that something as joyous as attending the 2010 World Cup opening concert could have such disastrous consequences."

"On behalf of my family and the IFP, I would like to extend my sincerest and heartfelt condolences to the Mandela family."

The SA Communist Party said it was saddened by the news because it knew how much Mandela loved his great-grandchildren.


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