Former Free State MEC for transport, roads and police Butana Komphela has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for culpable homicide by the Brandfort Magistrate’s Court.
The sentence, which was handed down on Monday, has been suspended for five years, meaning Komphela, 65, will not serve any prison time for the crime, provided he is not found guilty of a similar offence during the period of suspension.
The conviction and sentence emanate from an incident in January 2019 that claimed the life of Samuel Manyova, 50.
Komphela, who is Mamelodi Sundowns coach Steve Komphela’s older brother, was driving to Bloemfontein in his BMW, when he veered to the right, crossed two barrier lines, and collided with a Volkswagen Polo that was driving in the opposite direction with five occupants, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Free State spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
“The Polo rolled several times and Manyova, who was one of the passengers, died at the scene. Other occupants suffered minor injuries.
“Komphela claimed that the VW Polo drove into his lane and the sun made it impossible for him to see it,” Phaladi said.
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Komphela’s version of events was dismantled by an accident scene expert, who contended that it was “impossible” for the Polo to be at fault, due to it not having any front corner impact damage, “which confirmed that the BMW drove into the Polo”.
State prosecutor, Mpoti Chalale, said: “According to the accident scene expert, the contributing cause to the accident can only be a human error because [the] vehicle did not have [a] mechanical fault and the road was in a good condition.
“It was Mr Komphela who was driving at the speed of about 150km per hour in an 80km/h zone when he swerved into oncoming traffic. The accused is a former MEC who was responsible for roads in the province and he knows that road is a high-accident zone.
“There is no way the sun could have made it impossible for him to see other vehicles because the accident happened at around 14h00.”