'She killed my son': Woman placed under house arrest, fined for death of Durban metro cop

A woman convicted of culpable homicide for crashing into an off-duty Durban metro police officer and then driving 1.5km with him on the roof of her car, has been sentenced to three years of house arrest, fined R8 000 and ordered to apologise to his mother.

Nolwazi Nzimande, now 30, of Umbilo was also given a five-year wholly suspended sentence and her driver's licence was cancelled for six months.

In imposing the punishment on Wednesday, Durban Regional Court Magistrate Simphiwe Hlophe said, while Nzimande had not apologised for the horrific accident - "and didn't seem to care" - she was young at the time, only had her driver's licence for four months and was a candidate for rehabilitation.

Phumlani Mbatha was crossing Berea Road on April 14, 2012 when he was struck by the car Nzimande drove, which had a Learner sign.

Instead of stopping, she drove with the 26-year-old half on the roof the car towards Musgrave Centre.

After a massive hunt by friends who were with him at the time, he was found seriously injured in the middle of Silverton Road, near the centre, and died the next day in hospital.

Mbatha's mother, Nonhlanhla Mbatha, who attended the sentencing on Wednesday, said it had been a "long journey".

"I was hoping the court would do the right thing. But it didn't happen.

"I am so sad. She killed my son. She washed the car and then tried to hide it.

"My husband passed away because of the pain of the death of my son… so she killed two people in my house."

Nzimande, a university graduate who is the youngest daughter of Professor Victor Nzimande – a prominent KwaZulu-Natal businessman and academic – alleged in her evidence that she had been a victim of attempting hijacking that day and knew nothing about Mbatha's death.

But the magistrate rejected her version.

He also convicted her co-accused, US national John Solomon, of charges related to his attempt to obstruct the course of justice after. Nzimande had gone to Solomon's house after the incident and he had arranged for her car to be towed to a panel beater the next morning.

Solomon was fined R3 000 or six months in prison for his role.

A key witness in the trial was Jonathan Aschmann, who said that, while he was driving that evening, he noticed a blue Polo "with something on its roof".

On closer inspection, he saw a woman driving and speaking on her cellphone. The windscreen was caved in and there was a man on the roof, stuck in the windscreen.

Conditions attached to Nzimande's house arrest are that she must perform 16 hours of community service a month and that she must participate in victim/offender mediation.

She also has to write a letter of apology to Nhlanhla Mbatha within one month.