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Naval Officer Suspended and Charged After Hit-and-Run Incident in Simon’s Town

Published December 30, 2023
7 months ago

In a shocking incident that has garnered widespread attention, Able Seaman Garth Ronald Pasha has been suspended from his duties in the South African Navy following his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run that seriously injured two cyclists in Simon’s Town. The event, which was captured on CCTV, shows a white VW Polo, reportedly driven by Pasha, striking the cyclists before fleeing the scene.

The victims of this heinous act were identified as 26-year-old Dewald van der Westhuizen and his 57-year-old coach, Mike Moriarty. The impact of the collision was severe, leaving Van der Westhuizen with critical injuries that required multiple surgeries to attempt to reconstruct his leg. The seriousness of the injuries underscores the violent nature of the crash.

The Chief of the SA Navy, Monde Lobese, has publicly decried the incident, emphasizing that criminal behavior has no place within the ranks of the Navy. This stance is indicative of a broader attitude within the defense forces, which aims to maintain high ethical standards and discipline amongst its members.

Upon his arrest, Pasha faced a trifecta of charges: attempted murder, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol. A combination like this not only paints a profoundly disturbing picture but also hints at the underlying issues of substance misuse and irresponsible behavior that can have devastating consequences on innocent lives.

Despite the gravity of the charges, Pasha managed to secure bail, set at R5000, a move that has sparked both dismay and outrage among the victims' families and the public. As part of his bail conditions, Pasha is required to surrender his driving license and is prohibited from operating any vehicle for the duration of the case.

Enhancing these restrictions, state prosecutor Keegan Petersen emphatically noted the severe repercussions that would follow if Pasha were found violating any of his bail conditions.

The ongoing attention the case has attracted casts a societal spotlight on driving under the influence and the extensive harm it inflicts on users of the road, particularly vulnerable groups like cyclists. It also raises questions surrounding law enforcement and judicial efficacy when handling cases involving members of armed services.

The community, perturbed by the bail decision, continues to monitor the case with apprehensive eyes as the court has set a new date for further investigation on the 16th of February. This development is awaited with bated breath, as public scrutiny mounts and the demand for justice grows louder.

Robert Gouverneur, Van der Westhuizen's father, has turned into an inadvertent advocate for both his son and road safety due to the incident. He has voiced a heart-wrenching plea for justice, highlighting the physical and emotional trauma his family has had to endure since the collision.

The suspension of Able Seaman Pasha is, in itself, a significant development. It not only reinforces the Navy’s no-tolerance policy towards such alleged criminal behaviour but also reassures the public that no individual is above the law, regardless of their position.

As the case unfolds, the South African Navy and the broader community await a legal resolution that will hopefully deliver justice for the victims and ensure safer roads for all citizens.

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