A PORT Elizabeth ANC councillor went straight from the dock to the hospital yesterday to beg forgiveness from the man he hit with his car while allegedly driving drunk.
Motherwell ward councillor Mthunzi Madolo made a brief appearance in the Motherwell Magistrate's Court yesterday. He was released on bail after spending the night behind bars.
Madolo was not available for comment yesterday.
The court appearance comes as two Port Elizabeth High Court judges ruled that magistrates must automatically suspend the licences of drunk drivers unless the drivers can explain under oath why their licences should not be suspended.
Judges Phakamisa Tshiki and Elna Revelas's ruling was made after a Port Elizabeth magistrate noted a discrepancy in the way laws pertaining to the suspension of licences were applied in Bay courts.
The magistrate went to the high court for clarity after he had sentenced Lorraine Botha – who pleaded guilty to driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit – to a R5000 fine, with half the fine conditionally suspended for five years.
Meanwhile, the man Madolo allegedly hit with his private vehicle on Sunday evening is in Livingstone Hospital with broken legs.
Ntsikelelo Mayiyane, 46, is in a stable condition and will undergo a second operation soon. Both his legs are in casts.
Madolo allegedly veered on to the pavement while dropping off a friend in Steve Tshwete village in Motherwell at about 5pm on Sunday.
Mayiyane, a father of three, was knocked to the ground by the Toyota Corolla. The car then went over his legs, crushing his shins.
Talking from his hospital bed yesterday, Mayiyane said he had felt immense pain before he realised what had happened.
"I heard the car coming but I was walking on the pavement, so I didn't think I was in danger. I was not far from my house when it happened.
"He was not even going that fast, but he had [allegedly] been drinking," Mayiyane said.
His neighbour was a passenger in the ward 55 councillor's car.
Mayiyane said Madolo was dropping his neighbour off at home after they had visited a tavern when he lost control of the vehicle and it veered on to the pavement.
Madolo was arrested at the scene. He faces charges of driving under the influence of liquor and reckless and negligent driving.
It has since been alleged that this is not the first time that drinking has landed Madolo in trouble. He has also been accused of attending council meetings reeking of alcohol.
Madolo was appointed ward councillor earlier this year in the place of Phumeza Lose, who died along with two other councillors in an accident in January.
Since news broke of Madolo's arrest, several councillors have claimed that he was "bound to be arrested" as letters had been written to chief whip Feziwe Sibeko, complaining that he had attended meetings drunk.
Council speaker Maria Hermans confirmed that she had been informed of the letters of complaint but had not yet received them.
Asked if any action would be taken with regard to Madolo's arrest, Hermans said there was a mandatory process that had to be followed.
"It's not as easy as just suspending him ... The right thing for me to do would be to verify and establish the facts from councillor Madolo's side.
"After I have received the facts, I will have to formally inform the MEC [of Local Government Mlibo Qoboshiyane] who would have to see if there's been a breach of conduct."
She said the MEC would have to act if Madolo was found to be in breach of the councillors' code of conduct.
Mayiyane said he appreciated Madolo's visit at the hospital and his apology, but hoped he would also assist him with further medical bills.
"When I don't work, I don't get paid," he said.
"I have three children and doctors have not yet told me how long I will be out of work. I am going to struggle financially," Mayiyane said.