Driver who crashed into home drags feet to fix property

After Mandla Mabindisa crashed his car into 72-year-old Zithulele Bavuma’s house in the middle of the night on November 19, startling the elderly man who thought he was being attacked by burglars, the young driver promised to fix the damage he had caused.

WALL FINALLY BRICKED UP: The Bavuma family’s frustration is mounting as they say a man who crashed his car into 72-year-old Zithulele Bavuma’s house on November 19 has been playing cat and mouse with them after promising to make repairs

Mabindisa’s white Volkswagen Polo was still lodged in the house when TotT covered the original incident, and a gaping hole was left after the car was removed.

But now the Bavuma family’s patience is being tested as they say Mabindisa has dragged his feet to make good on his promise.

Aside from the collapsed wall, Bavuma said a cupboard, couches and other belongings had also been damaged.

In an effort to get the house fixed immediately, the Bavuma family did not lay any charges against Mandisa, but instead made arrangements that he repaired the house immediately.

Initially, Mabindisa placed zinc roof sheeting as a makeshift wall, which the family said was not good enough.

Mabindisa had promised them to get the house fixed on November 25, but the family is frustrated by the slow progress of repairs.

The elderly Bavuma has been sick ever since the incident took place. On November 29 TotT visited Bavuma who said he was coughing because the wind was coming through.

Mabindisa eventually replaced the zinc sheets with a brick wall.

Speaking on behalf of her family, Bavuma’s granddaughter, who preferred not to be mentioned, described the slow pace of repairs.

“He did bits and pieces so far, but we have to pursue him as if he does not [acknowledge] that he has done something wrong,” she said.

She said Mabindisa often avoided her family’s phone calls.

Their first hitch was getting the car removed, as Mabindisa had not done so himself.

The Bavuma family phoned Kowie Towing asking for an advice, and were told the company only deals with the car owner.

The granddaughter said her family managed to convince Kowie Towing to remove the car and they gave them the car owner’s cell phone number.

According to granddaughter the car was towed around 7pm the same day the incident took place. The incident occurred around 2am.

When TotT called Mabindisa, he was coy and gave contradictory information to what the Bavuma family said and what the TotT reporter saw on the day the incident occurred.

He agreed he had first used old zinc sheets to cover the hole in the wall, but added that it was a temporary solution which he replaced with bricks few weeks later. He further mentioned that he was in the process of building a room divider which was also destroyed.

Asked about the damaged belongings, he said: “I talked to utata (father) and he said I should only replace the cupboard.”

Pressed to give information about other damaged belongings, he seemed not to be aware of any.

“What else was damaged?” he asked. TotT reminded him of the damaged couches by the fallen wall, but he did not answer.

When asked about towing fee and his efforts to get the car back, Mabindisa sounded reserved. “Eish, I do not know what to say because I do not have money. Umlungukazi (the white lady) from that company phoned me and said I should pay R4,500 and they also charge me an additional R200 for each day that they keep the car. They said if I do not pay it on or before December 15 they will sell the car,” he said.

He was non-committal about getting the car back.

He further said he had organised for the car to be towed on the day of the incident, at around 10am. But TotT was at the scene at around 2pm on the day and the Bavuma family said he had not visited them again after the incident.

The family further revealed that Mabindisa only sent his friends who helped clean up the mess caused by the fallen wall and they had also taken some belongings from the car.