The arrest of a 26-year-old Steenberg man for his alleged involvement in the hit-and-run of Renford Brand, 76, in November last year can be seen as a victory for the cycling fraternity.
The man was arrested with the help of private investigator, Advocate Hansie Linde, and appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court two weeks ago.
He is facing charges of reckless and negligent driving, fleeing the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident.
He will be back in the dock on Friday April 13 where he is expected to plead.
Mr Brand, known as Ren, was hit from behind near the quarry at Sunny Cove en route from Fish Hoek to Simon’s Town on Sunday November 5.
At the time of the accident, there were no witnesses but a cyclist who arrived first at the scene said when Mr Brand was asked if he had seen anything he uttered “it was a white bakkie.”
However, he could not remember this after waking up in 2 Military Hospital where he had pins placed in his right leg, a part of which had previously been amputated after another hit-and-run on Ou Kaapse Weg in 2010.
Although the driver was later found in that incident and there was evidence indicating he was responsible for the hit-and-run, he came off scot free.
This time, the key that helped unlock the mystery of who hit Mr Brand was footage from CCTV cameras at Sunny Cove station which recorded five cars passing through around the time Mr Brand was hit.
He said by a process of elimination, the cars were narrowed down to two – a white bakkie and a silver Mazda.
Mr Linde tracked the bakkie and found it belonged to a shopfitting company. He then further traced the bakkie to an underground parking in Sea Point and damage to the vehicle, a broken rear view mirror, raised further suspicion.
However, it turned out that the authorised driver of the bakkie was not driving it at the time of the accident as a friend (the accused) had borrowed it, without his permission, after a party in Mitchell’s Plain the previous night.
On the day of the accident, the accused and a girlfriend were en route to Simon’s Town to sell his girlfriend’s car, the silver Mazda.
Statements were made by the girlfriend of the accused who was a passenger at the time of the accident
as well as the driver of the silver Mazda.
In his statement, the driver of the silver Mazda said he was travelling a short distance behind the white bakkie when he saw a cyclist grabbing his leg on the side of the road just after he was knocked over. The white bakkie then sped off. As he was not familiar with the area and now lost his friend (the accused in the white bakkie), he later turned around and found that an ambulance was with the cyclist that was knocked over.
According to further reports, it is likely that the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Mr Brand is well known in the cycling fraternity and is a member of the Recyclers Club for retired
cyclists and 5F Cycling Club in Fish Hoek.
He said he just wanted to see justice done unlike the first time when he was hit on Ou Kaapse Weg.
“The cycling fraternity and I are tired of being victims of negligent driving,” he said.
Although he has been recovering well and is in the process of having a new prosthetic leg fitted, he said the accident had a big impact on his day-to-day life.
He currently works as an in-dependent security advisor and needs to be relatively mobile to do his job. He said it has been difficult and his business has taken a knock.
But he is staying positive and focusing on his recovery.
He said after four months of rehab he should be walking within the next month and should be back on his bicycle in about three months.
Fish Hoek station commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jackie Johnson confirmed the arrest.
Chairman for the Recyclers Club for retired cyclists in Fish Hoek, Simon Moore, said Mr Brand is a much respected member of the Recyclers and the pain of his second incident is shared by all the members.
He said the second incident has made everyone more determined than ever to seek justice, not for revenge, but in an effort to create awareness that there are consequences for irresponsible and cowardly actions.
“We as Recyclers are assisting Ren (Mr Brand) as best we can in the interests of one of our members, but also in the interests of the entire cycling fraternity and hope that by achieving some form of justice, drivers will think twice before abandoning the scene of an accident and will also be cautious when approaching cyclists,” he said.
Pedal Power Association (PPA) CEO, Robert Vogel, said he was happy to hear that Mr Brand’s perseverance to find the person who knocked him over has paid off.
He said after being tracked down, the question still remains: “Why did he not stop at the scene and render assistance and let the law take its course?
“After all the effort Renford has gone to, PPA hopes the judicial system will finally assist him,as is his constitutional right,” Mr Vogel