A horror accident on the corner of Koeberg and Plattekloof Roads last Tuesday claimed the life of 33-year-old Charmaine Wijnbeek.
Wijnbeek allegedly skipped a red traffic light and ploughed into a police vehicle that was transporting five suspects who were arrested in Du Noon.
One of the five suspects sustained a broken leg and the others, including the two police officers, were treated for minor injuries.
A culpable homicide docket has been opened by the police for investigation.
The police maintain that the above is correct, but certain facts cast shadows of doubt on what really happened that evening at 22:30.
The Table View police press statement received last Wednesday contained incorrect details, such as that Wijnbeek was 40 years old and that one of the dogs that was in the car with her ran off after the accident.
Yet one of the deceased’s friends who was on the scene insists that both dogs died in the accident and that the body of one of the two dogs was found in the boot of the hatchback.
Another uncertainty that hangs over the incident is exactly how the accident occurred.
According to an anonymous man who arrived on the scene moments after the incident, Wijnbeek’s Golf was smashed on the side and the police vehicle in the front.
He says: “I’m not accusing anybody. We just need some clarity. Which road did the police drive on – Plattekloof or Koeberg? Which robot did Charmaine skip? When I arrived on the scene the police vehicle was lying on its left side, right in the middle of the intersection facing towards Table View. Surely there’s no way she crashed into them and rolled them?”
His uncertainty is echoed by others on an IOL web forum.
One person writes: “These guys need to get their facts straight. The way they say it happened is impossible, sorry to say. Charmaine’s poor family is getting all the wrong details. I was there a few seconds after it happened.”
Another adds: “The driver of the police vehicle is to blame for this incident, no two ways about it! Surely the Caltex Refinery can provide video evidence to back the investigation – they have cameras pointing in all directions?”
A Daily Sun report included the following: “A witness who asked to remain anonymous said he was driving behind the police van when he saw a VW Golf jump a red robot and collide with the police vehicle, overturning it.”
This witness was contacted by TygerBurger. He first said that we must phone him a little later and then he refrained from answering his phone when follow-up calls were made.
On Friday TygerBurger emailed a number of questions to Table View police to clarify the events that led up to the accident and whether they have approached Caltex Refinery for video footage.
On Monday and Tuesday TygerBurger was sent from one officer to the next, who either didn’t have the time, information or the necessary authority to shed some light on the events that lead to Wijnbeek’s death.
By late Tuesday, at the time of going to press TygerBurger’s questions were still unanswered.
Two eyewitnesses – two sides of the same devastating story.
One witness is convinced the Milnerton police officer skipped a red traffic light and the other is equally certain that it was the driver of the Golf who disobeyed the traffic rules.
Who is to blame for the death of 33-year-old Charmaine Wijnbeek?
TygerBurger reported last week in the article entitled “Horror crash confusion” how a police van transporting five suspects from Du Noon to Milnerton collided with Wijnbeek’s vehicle on 11 June at 22:30.
Last week it was uncertain at the time of going to press exactly how the accident happened.
It is now known that the police van was travelling on Koeberg Road towards Milnerton and Wijnbeek on Plattekloof Road. She wanted to turn towards Table View, but when she reached the middle of the intersection the police van collided into the right side of the Golf. The van flipped over onto its left side and the Golf was slammed a few metres down Koeberg Road towards Milnerton.
Wijnbeek and her two dogs were killed in the process and the occupants of the police van sustained relatively minor injuries.
The police maintain that Wijnbeek skipped the red light.
Last week the details of a witness were given to the newspaper to verify the police’s version of what happened, but he could not be reached.
This week TygerBurger managed to speak to him, but another witness also came forward – one of the suspects who was in the back of the police van.
Both insist that they want to stay anonymous.
The first witness, who apparently drove “not too far” behind the police, elaborates: “I was on my way to work that time. Then the driver of the Golf jumped the red robot, without stopping once. Then the van and the Golf met halfway at the robot. It was hectic! I wouldn’t say the police van drove into her and I wouldn’t say she drove into the police van. Anybody who says that the van skipped the red robot is lying.”
The witness is adamant that he has no connections in the police and what he says is definitely correct.
He adds that while he was behind the van he never got the impression that it was speeding at any point.
The second witness was driving in the back of the van after he was apparently arrested in Du Noon for carrying a small knife.
He sustained minor back injuries and was treated briefly in hospital.
According to his employer, Kevin Napier, the second witness told him that the police van drove through a red traffic light before any newspaper articles appeared. When the witness saw TygerBurger’s article he just said: “The police are lying.”
He claims that the police were driving dangerously and were speeding, so he kept his eye on the road through the canopy window and windscreen.
Napier adds that his employee has a habit of always looking where he’s going – especially when he sits in the back of a bakkie.
He is “absolutely certain” that the van drove through a “completely red” traffic light and straight into the Golf.
Napier says that his employee is an honest man who has been working for him for about eight years.
Francois de Roubaix, manager of Dals Towing, says it is “very obvious” that Wijnbeek just pulled away at the robot. His employees arrived on the scene just moments after the accident.
“If she came through the intersection with a bit of speed before the collision then the vehicles would have ended up in the lanes heading towards Table View. Yet, she ended up in the lanes heading towards Milnerton police station. So, my experience tells me she first stopped at the robot and then drove,” he explains.
He also finds it strange that if Wijnbeek indeed skipped the red light that she didn’t see the approaching police van on her right.
Spokesperson for Milnerton police, W/O Daphne Dell, first dispelled the second witness’s observation that the police van was speeding when she says: “As you are aware all police vehicles are fitted with tracking devices and the record is drawn on a daily basis. The speed of the vehicle was travelling can be seen on the report. According to the record of the vehicle involved in the accident the member was not speeding at any time before the accident.”
This tracking device can record the exact time of the accident, so Dell says that they have approached the City of Cape Town and are trying to determine what colour the traffic lights were at that precise moment. She admits, however, that this line of query is a long shot.
She continues: “The case is still under investigation and therefore I cannot answer all the questions, but I can confirm that we have also asked Caltex Refinery for some video footage.”
Dell concludes by saying that if it is found that police members made false statements then they will be charged with perjury.

On the eleventh of every month Sarie Botha sits in her Pretoria home and stares at her telephone.
The tragic memories of 11 June 2013 have never healed.
Just over a year ago she had a beautiful 33-year-old daughter, Charmaine Wijnbeek.
Then the devastating news hit her like a sledgehammer – Charmaine was in a serious car accident on the corner of Plattekloof and Koeberg Roads.
Just a few minutes later she was informed by one of Charmaine’s friends that her daughter had died.
Various newspapers reported that she skipped a red traffic light before a Milnerton police vehicle slammed into her Golf.
TygerBurger posed various questions in the aftermath of the accident on 19 June.
Since last year, Sarie has phoned the police every month on the eleventh, but has never received any concrete answers as to how the investigation into the accident is proceeding.
She will not be phoning again.
“The investigation in the case is now complete. The docket will be presented to the senior public prosecutor for discussion and a decision,” Milnerton police spokesperson W/O Daphne O’Reilly told TygerBurger.
O’Reilly says all the evidence and statements were included in the docket.
“All we can do now is wait,” she says.
“The senior public prosecutor has to deal with many such issues, so his decision could take a while yet.”
This is the last thing Sarie wants to hear, since her patience ran dry months ago.
During the telephonic interview Sarie’s anguish was tangible.
“My family is not doing well,” she swallows.
“To us it seems as if she didn’t die – she was killed.”
That fateful night two police officers went to Du Noon and arrested five suspects.
The van was heading towards Milnerton along Koeberg Road.
The police officers in the vehicle and an eye-witness who was driving behind the van maintain that it was Charmaine who skipped the red light, but one of the suspects in the back of the van said that this version was a lie.
The suspect also said the van was speeding.
Both sides were presented in the media, but now it is ultimately the decision of the senior public prosecutor.
While she waits, the same memories drift to the surface – the night of the accident.
“I didn’t feel well and took a sleeping pill. I had just closed my eyes when one of Charmaine’s friends phoned me. He said to me she had been in a serious accident… While I was packing stuff I just thought soon I’ll be at the hospital with her. Then the same friend phoned me and said she didn’t make it.”
Since then Sarie has had to cope with various challenges, the worst being when a cell phone company phoned her and demanded to speak to Charmaine.
“I just started crying. I said if they have a direct line to heaven they can phone her.”
Charmaine’s death has left a swathe of broken hearts. Sarie has two sons and neither of them have come to terms with the fact that they will never see Charmaine again.