Evidence in the inquest into the death of Reshall Jimmy was presented in the Western Cape High Court on 18 and 19 March 2019. Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, appeared on behalf of the Jimmy family. Jimmy died in December 2015 when the Ford Kuga he was driving caught fire. The Ford Motor Company is also a party to the proceedings.
This inquest will determine whether the death was brought about by any act or omission involving or amounting to an offence on the part of a Ford. Witness testimony and videos of the incident were also presented in court. In this case the cause and origin of the fire has been identified as a subject of central importance for the proceedings. Ford’s legal representatives have however argued that vehicle fires can occur indiscriminately with all motor models and brands.
The inquest proceedings started on the day that would have been the deceased’s birthday. Jimmy’s unfortunate death leaves behind a family desperate for answers and for closure.
Constable Thembekile Matwa‚ who is investigating Jimmy’s death, gave his testimony on 18 and 19 March. Constable Ryan Petersen, the first policeman on the scene, also testified on 19 March. Furthermore, Lt. Col. Richard Tonkin from the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, who was also present at the scene, will continue his testimony on 20 March.
Constable Matwa’s testimony finally dispelled all allegations of a poor police investigation, as was argued by Ford in the application to have the inquest postponed.
AfriForum believes Ford is a corporate bully who failed to accept liability for the death of Jimmy, even though evidence suggests that Jimmy’s death was caused by a fault in his Ford Kuga vehicle.
“One of the reasons why AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit was founded is to ensure that everyone is equal before the law,” says Andrew Leask, Investigator at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.
This case is also an important further step in AfriForum’s strategy for establishing the principle of private prosecution as well as ensuring that justice prevails.