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Wed Jul 27 23:15:19 SAST 2016

Row over allegations of SA envoy driving drunk in Oslo

Graeme Hosken | 06 January, 2016 00:40
It's the second time, according to Norwegian police, the 50-year-old has been caught for drunk driving. File photo
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

South Africa appears to be blocking the rescinding of the immunity of one of its diplomats which would allow Norwegian police to conduct an investigation into allegations of a drunk-driving accident.

The diplomat, whose name and position at the South African embassy in Oslo the government refuses to divulge, seriously injured a paramedic when he allegedly tried to flee the police in a car chase.

It's the second time, according to Norwegian police, the 50-year-old has been caught for drunk driving.

The chase occurred in Oslo's Bygdoy Alle on Saturday night when police became suspicious of the diplomat's erratic driving. They attempted to pull him over but he sped off into oncoming traffic.

Police gave chase and the diplomat crashed head-on into the paramedic, who was responding to another emergency.

Trapped inside her vehicle, her hip broken and with severe internal injuries, the paramedic had to be cut out of the wreckage.

The diplomat refused to obey police instructions,using his diplomatic immunity to prevent being breathalysed. His refusal, which saw South African embassy staff removing him from the scene, threatens to blow up into a diplomatic row.

Norwegian authorities are demanding that South Africa rescind his diplomatic immunity.

South Africa's ambassador to Norway, Queen Ann Zondo, told online newspaper News In English she was awaiting instructions from the South African government.

Nelson Kgwete, Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesman, said: "The diplomat, who was also injured in the accident and hospitalised, is co-operating with the police."

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