Dead joggers mother furious over returned driver's licence
The mother of one of the five joggers killed in a Midrand accident was fuming on Monday about a high court decision to give the driver his licence back.
Mashudu Mills, 56, spoke to reporters at the High Court in Pretoria, shortly after the appearance of Sibusiso Langa, who faces five counts of murder, one of attempted murder and charges related to drunk driving.
"The decision opens my wound all over again. It’s like my child has died right now," said Mills, the mother of Given Mills, 30, who died in the crash with Moroese Mokoatsi, 34, Reneilwe Lesenyeho, 31, Isaac Tlale, 37, and Nomvula Dumako, 35.
A sixth jogger, Khanyiswa Stengile, survived and was operated on.
Langa, a mechanical engineer, was allegedly drunk when his Mercedes-Benz ML500 ploughed into the group of joggers on October 23, 2011.
He was released on R80,000 bail after spending a few days in custody.
The runners were preparing for the Soweto Marathon when they were hit.
Last year, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court referred Langa's trial to the High Court in Pretoria.
On Monday, the high court ordered that Langa’s driver's licence, which was seized from him after the accident, be returned, in an amendment of his bail conditions, which were set by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court in October 2011.
One of the conditions of Langa's bail was that he not be allowed to drive.
Judge Sulette Potteril instructed the State to ensure that Langa got his licence back, as this would allow him to move and consult his lawyers and also to ferry his witnesses in Gauteng.
The judge’s decision followed a request by Langa's lawyer Richard Mkhabela.
He told the court preparations for a trial had been hindered because his client did not have his driver's licence and his movements were limited.
As a result, the defence was not ready to go to trial.
Langa’s lawyers have submitted a plea bargain proposal, which was turned down by the State earlier this month.
The judge gave Langa’s team until Thursday to prepare for the trial. She said another request, for a lengthy period of time to prepare, was "unacceptable and this matter must proceed".
Langa told reporters he regretted the accident.
"I have always wanted to reach out to the families, but my bail conditions prohibited me from doing that. Some of the families are the witnesses," he said.