Chabane and two bodyguards, sergeants Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lentsoane, died in a car accident in the early hours of Sunday on the N1 between Polokwane and Mokopane.
The top of the minister’s car, a white VW Touareg, was sliced off in the crash. Initial reports suggested that a truck travelling towards Pretoria was in front of Chabane’s car when it suddenly made a U-turn.
Yesterday police spokesperson Ronel Otto said on Talk Radio 702 that the truck driver was given a breathalyser test on the scene and it showed that he had been drinking alcohol. “The suspect was arrested on charges of culpable homicide as well as reckless and negligent driving, and a breathalyser test indicated that he might have been under the influence of alcohol. So following his arrest, he was taken to the hospital to blood tests which will now be sent to our forensics department in Pretoria for analysing.” The minister was on his way to Pretoria, Gauteng, because he wanted to “wake up at his home”.
The funeral arrangements were being finalised at a meeting between the family and cabinet ministers on Monday. The funeral is scheduled to take in Xikundu village, Limpopo on Saturday. The memorial service is expected to take place in Pretoria on Thursday.
Chabane’s younger brother Percy Chabane said: “We are not coping at all.” “We just have to soldier on.”
“We just have to accept it is God’s wish.” Chabane, who is also the family spokesperson, said his brother had a sense of humour and was down-to-earth.
However, Chabane said the family was humbled by condolences pouring in from across the globe. “We are humbled by condolences from all over the world – including from friends and enemies of the ANC,” Chabane said.
The arrested driver is expected to appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s court on Tuesday. Chabane is survived by his mother, his wife Mavis Chabane, and two children.
Preparations ongoing for Chabane’s funeral
Special funeral for Collins Chabane