Kuga given clean bill of health just be­fore driver’s fiery death

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - JON­ISAYI MAROMO

THE Ford Kuga SUV in which Re­shall Jimmy was killed after it ig­nited in De­cem­ber 2015 had been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a range of tech­ni­cal prob­lems, his brother Kaveen said yes­ter­day.

“The first is­sue he had with this ve­hi­cle was with his brakes – his brakes go­ing un­usu­ally fast. I told him to buy new brakes,” Kaveen told re­porters at a me­dia brief­ing in Pre­to­ria.

“He kept hav­ing power is­sues. When he was driv­ing, the ve­hi­cle just lost all power… then just burst for­ward (when) ev­ery­thing just kicked in.”

Kaveen re­counted an in­ci­dent when Re­shall’s car was found idling after he had parked it at his work­place, but it had been switched off with no key in the ig­ni­tion.

“It was switched on. He thought this was a joke from his friends, so (when he was told) he (burst into) laugh­ter. When he went to his ve­hi­cle it was locked but switched on,” said Kaveen.

“The week be­fore he went to Ge­orge, he took his ve­hi­cle to Ford for a ser­vice check and asked them to look into the power is­sues. He was con­cerned it was not safe, and we were go­ing quite far. They told him his ve­hi­cle was safe and good to go.”

Kaveen said that shortly after Re­shall’s death, Ford of­fi­cials claimed there was no trail of the ser­vice his­tory records on the ill-fated ve­hi­cle.

“Later, in a meet­ing with at­tor­ney Rod Mon­tano, we un­cov­ered that the ser­vice records were still in­tact on their sys­tem. This was some eight months later.”

Mean­while, the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple whose Ford Kuga SUVs burst into flames in South Africa in the past few months would be fil­ing a clas­s­ac­tion law­suit, their at­tor­ney an­nounced yes­ter­day.

“Ini­tially, I have been in­structed by the Jimmy fam­ily. The ini­tial goal was to as­sist in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the SAPS in Ge­orge into the in­quest re­lat­ing to Re­shall’s death.

“As the mat­ters pro­gressed, with the epi­demic of Ford fires that have oc­curred, we’ve come into con­tact with other Ford fire vic­tims,” Mon­tano told a me­dia brief­ing in Pre­to­ria.

“I am also cur­rently in­structed to act on the other fam­i­lies’ be­half in bring­ing a class ac­tion against Ford.”

He said that on Mon­day, 31 claims against Ford were handed to the Na­tional Con­sumer Com­mis­sion (NCC).

“We are in the process of ob­tain­ing (the names of) the re­main­ing few vic­tims. The dif­fi­culty we had over the De­cem­ber period is get­ting into con­tact with those per­sons.

“Con­sul­ta­tions are on­go­ing and we do hope that we will act on be­half of all Ford Kuga fire vic­tims,” said Mon­tano.

He said the class ac­tion tar­geted at Ford would be pur­sued jointly through the NCC, as well as civil claims for the losses suf­fered in the fi­asco.

Re­shall, 33, was on hol­i­day in Wilder­ness when his ve­hi­cle caught fire. He was burnt be­yond recog­ni­tion. About 40 other in­ci­dents of the SUV ig­nit­ing on South African roads were re­ported, spark­ing pub­lic out­rage. – ANA

PIC­TURE: THOBILE MATHONSI

ANGUISHING: Ren­isha and Kaveen Jimmy, sib­lings of the late Re­shall Jimmy, who died when his Ford Kuga ig­nited in De­cem­ber 2015.

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