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A Zimbabwean pilot involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident on the Port Elizabeth beachfront allegedly hoodwinked his colleagues into believing he was in SA legally.
Judgment in Kelvin Zirema’s bail application was brought to a halt in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday when the prosecution asked to reopen its case in respect of his status in the country at the time of the accident.
State prosecutor Melani Hammett said if Zirema’s employers had been aware that his visa had expired, the state needed to explore additional criminal charges under the Immigration Act.
Hammett said she would call the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Johan Raubenheimer, to testify to this, as well as the effect a drunk-driving conviction would have on his further employment prospects as a pilot.
Zirema, 32, studied towards his pilot’s licence at the Aptrac Aviation Academy in Port Elizabeth and obtained his private pilot’s licence in March 2010.
Since then, he has been accumulating flying hours to obtain his helicopter licence and has, accordingly, been assisting at the Algoa Flying Club and Helicopter Charter & Training CC on a part-time basis.
Helicopter Charter & Training’s John Huddlestone, who gave an affidavit in support of Zirema being released on bail, said on Wednesday had he known Zirema was in the country illegally, he would not have given him a chance to fly.
Huddlestone said he had not employed Zirema, who had merely been working for him as a volunteer.
He declined to comment furtheSource – herald