Reporter assaulted by drink-driver
MBABANE - A civil servant who was found guilty of drink-driving, Mandla Sime-lane, yesterday attacked Times reporter Samkelo Ngwenya whom he thought was photographing him.
Ngwenya had gone to the Magistrates Court on other job-related business when the drink–driver, who is employed by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, grabbed his cellphone and smashed it on the floor outside the courtroom.
Simelane accused Ngwenya of taking his picture with the phone.
The situation was calmed by the quick intervention of police officer Bheki Zwane, who works in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Worthy of note is that Ngwenya was not carrying a camera when Simelane, who was with his relatives, attacked him and threatened to assault him.
It was while Ngwenya was trying to explain his mission that Simelane grabbed his cellphone and smashed it on the floor.
In actual fact, the camera was being carried by this reporter.
Ngwenya, who maintained his cool throughout the drama, was advised by the police officer to report the matter to the police, which he did yesterday at the Mbabane Police Station. The police are now investigating a case of malicious damage to property.
In mitigation for the drink-driving charge, Simelane pleaded for leniency since he was a first offender and had pleaded guilty to the charge.
In passing sentence, Magistrate Ndumiso Shongwe said he would consider his personal circum-stances and that he had pleaded guilty, which was a sign of remorse.
"I will consider that you are a first offender and that you did not waste the court’s time in that you pleaded guilty to the charge, but I will not lose sight of the seriousness of the offence you committed as drink-driving is on the rise and is one of the major causes of road accidents in the country," he said.
Simelane was found guilty of contravening Section 91(1) of the Road Traffic Act No 6 of 2007 and was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment with an option of a E1 500 fine, which he paid.
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