Cape Town amputee driver used son to operate clutch

15 July 2011 - 18:58 By Sapa

A Cape Town amputee came up with a novel way to continue driving, but when caught by traffic officers found he did not have a leg to stand on.

The city's traffic services' road haulage unit conducted a vehicle check-point along Potsdam Road near the N7 on Friday morning as part of its high accident location special enforcement programme, spokeswoman Chief Inspector Merle Lourens said.

During the roadblock, officers pulled over a manual-drive Toyota light delivery vehicle and found that the driver had only one leg.

"Since he could only use his right leg he could not operate the vehicle's clutch pedal," she said.

He had overcome this by allowing his 11-year-old son to press the clutch pedal while he changed gears. His six year-old son was also a passenger in the vehicle.

The 39-year-old driver from Bishop Lavis told officers his leg was amputated in 1996 after the bones were crushed when he was shot.

He confessed that an elderly man had previously assisted him in operating his vehicle in this manner, but for the past two months he had used his son to help him.

When officers asked for his driver's licence he told them he did not have one.

He said he had a learner's licence and was learning to drive a car with an automatic gearbox. However, it was found that the learner's licence expired last year.

Officers suspended the vehicle owing to various mechanical problems, including a defective parking brake, a broken safety belt, and a broken and loose seat, and because its licence had expired in June 2009.

"The suspect was charged for driving without a valid licence, operating an unlicensed vehicle on a public road, and failing to wear a safety belt," said Lourens.

"He was also given a warning for failing to exercise proper control of the vehicle," she said.