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Sun Feb 26 21:03:48 SAST 2017

Ford’s court claim over Kuga fire angers victim’s family

Graeme Hosken | 2017-01-12 13:08:45.0
Kaveen Jimmy and his sister Renisha - whose brother Reshall died in a Ford Kuga when it caught alight last December - want closure and an apology from the car manufacturer on December 2, 2016.
Image by: Alon Skuy

The family of Reshall Jimmy‚ who burnt to death when his Ford Kuga caught alight‚ has slammed the car manufacturer over its allegations that they deliberately withheld information from the company.

In an urgent court application in the Cape Town high court on Wednesday‚ Ford's lawyer‚ Shibisi Maruatona‚ said in an affidavit that the family and police were refusing to cooperate with Ford in its investigation into Jimmy's death.

Ford had been given until February 28 by the National Consumer Commission to complete its investigation into Jimmy's Kuga fire.

After The Times broke the Kuga fire story‚ the commission summoned Ford executives to appear before it.

The company launched an urgent application to get a copy of the evidence contained in the police inquest docket‚ which it alleges will be able to assist it in its investigation.

Ford fears‚ according to Maruatona's affidavit‚ that should it not complete its investigation by the deadline‚ the company could face drastic action being taken against it by the commission‚ which could result in financial and job losses.

In his affidavit‚ Maruatona said Ford had done everything within its power to investigate the fire but had been “inexplicably frustrated” by the police and Jimmy's family.

Jimmy's brother‚ Kaveen‚ on Thursday morning told TMG Digital that Ford could have called them for assistance‚ “but never have”.

“We take exception to what Ford has stated through their lawyer. I personally informed Ford that we had evidence which could help them and met with Ford SA CEO Jeffery Nemeth and Maruatona‚ in December to tell them this.

“Up until today‚ we are still waiting for Ford to contact us to view the evidence. It’s a complete mystery as to why they have not made an effort to ask us for this evidence.

“While they claim that we and the police are hindering them‚ for some reason they are not prepared to take up an offer which has been made to them nearly a month ago.

“Instead of taking up our offer they go and launch an urgent high court action to try and get the docket. One has to ask oneself why?”

Jimmy said the family had no reason to withhold any evidence.

“A police investigation is underway‚ but we of all people want this concluded as quickly as possible‚ given that it is our brother who died in the fire.”

Independent forensic experts and police fire specialists believe Jimmy's car caught fire because of an electrical fault behind the dashboard.

Ford‚ however‚ believes the fire started in the rear of the car.

Since Jimmy's death‚ 44 Kuga 2013-2014 models have caught alight in South Africa. Nine have done so this month alone. – TMG Digital/The Times

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