Monday, January 24, 2022

Motswaledi’s car most likely hit ÔÇô Forensic expert

An accident reconstruction by the Sunday Standardinvestigation team with the help of South Africa’s Forensic Collision Homicide Reconstructionist, Stan Bezuidenhout has revealed that Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President Gomolemo Motswaledi’s car may have been hit by another causing it to roll over. A reconstruction by the Sunday Standard reveals that Motswaledi was driving at not more than 60Km/hour when his Audi A3 veered off the A1 road between Ramatlabama border and Pitsane which could not have caused the car to overturn unless it was hit by something to interfere with its motion.

Independent investigations which have been confirmed by the police revealed that the accident happened between 0820 and 0900hours, at least 14 minutes after Motswaledi crossed the border at 08.06. Unless he stopped along the way, Motswaledi was driving at no more than 60km/h to cover the 15km – 20 km distance between the border and the accident scene. The only likely place Motswaledi could have stopped is at the filling station on the Botswana side of the border to fill up. This however is unlikely because at the time he most likely had enough gas in his tank. Sunday Standard investigations revealed that Motswaledi had earlier stopped at Blue Alley filling station in Venterdorp where he filled 42.26 liters at R 600.09, served by Donald Matlhaku the service station petrol attendant.

The 42 liters on his 2000 engine capacity A3 was enough to cover the 223 km from Venterdorp all the way to Gaborone. Another possibility is that Motswaledi could have stopped between Ramatlabama border and Pitsane due to mechanical problems. This is also unlikely because about four weeks earlier, his car had been given a clean bill of health by the Department of Transport. The Audi A3 he was driving was given road worthy certificate RW CO273072 on 2nd July 2014. While the probable cause of the fatal car accident remains the subject of police investigations, expert opinion from an independent forensic expert who deals with road traffic crashes based in South Africa suggests the car may have been hit causing it to overturn. The 44-year-old former leader of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), who was a parliamentary candidate for Gaborone Central, died in an accident while driving from South Africa back home Thursday Morning – a little under three months before an anticipated general election.

Stan Bezuidenhout, Forensic Collision Homicide Reconstructionist at IBF Investigations Pty (Ltd) based in South Africa, says Motswaledi’s car needed to have been hit by something to interfere with its movement causing it to roll over. He calls it a “trip mechanism”. The Botswana Police Service has not admitted that Motswaledi’s car was involved with another moving body. Police said he was travelling alone at the time of the accident. “Audi’s and most modern vehicles should not overturn merely from swerving. Their centre of mass or centre of gravity is simply too low. There would need to be a “trip mechanism.” Something would need to interfere with its movement, causing it to roll over “says Bezuidenhout. “From the images observed, we would expect minor injuries if the seatbelt was worn. If the seatbelt was not worn, fatal injuries could be observed. The probable cause is hard to define but it does look like the vehicle might have overturned albeit not rolled right over,” says Bezuidenhout. He says the forces would need to have been complex (roll over and rotation) for the damage to be as images depict. “From what is available in the photographs, it looks like the vehicle rolled over a bit. In the absence of proper evidence it is hard to say exactly, without knowing all dynamics, where the loss of control started, what road surface evidence there was, etc.

It is impossible to deduce a speed [at which the vehicle was travelling] merely from the damage seen,” says Bezuidenhout The forensic expert says “unless the driver is ejected (no seatbelt worn), the damage observed seems not to be severe enough to cause a fatality. But if the driver or occupants are ejected during a roll-over the results could be fatal. If the driver was wearing a seatbelt, the damage observed is highly unlikely to result in a fatality,” Sunday Standard can reveal that Motswaledi was not ejected. His body was found in the drivers’ seat while head had tipped over to the passenger seat. Citizens have since taken to social media venting their anger and frustrations with the State in the aftermath of the accident. In a statement released Friday, police have warned social media users against inciting civil disobedience. Bezuidenhout has served in the South African Navy – Special Security/Military Intelligence. His duties include investigation, analysis and reconstruction of road traffic crashes for and on behalf of a variety of clients with a view towards determining the true cause and causal factors relevant to the crash event to form an expert opinion.

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