'My child died again'

19 February 2013 - 02:14 By SIPHO MASOMBUKA
The silver Mercedes-Benz ML500 rammed into a group of runners, killing five. File photo.
The silver Mercedes-Benz ML500 rammed into a group of runners, killing five. File photo.

Though she buried her daughter more than a year ago, Mashudu Mills felt as though the woman had died again yesterday when she came face to face - for the first time - with the man accused of killing her.

"It just opened up old wounds.

"I felt like my child had died again when I saw this man. It was painful to see him and I thank God who calmed my emotions and cooled me down," the 56-year-old mother said.

Mills was speaking outside the Pretoria High Court yesterday following the brief appearance of mechanical engineer Sibusiso Langa, who is accused of running over six joggers - killing five of them, including Mills's 30-year-old daughter, Given, in October 2011.

Langa, who is also a US citizen, is out on R80000 bail.

The six joggers were preparing for the Soweto Marathon when Langa allegedly drove into them in his Mercedes-Benz ML500 in Midrand .

Judge Sulette Potterill yesterday ruled that Langa's driver's licence be returned to him so that he could travel to and consult his lawyers.

Survivor Khanyisa Stengile said she was not happy with the ruling but "if it means it will speed up the trial, so be it".

The only survivor of the crash, Stengile was treated for injuries to the tibia and fibula of her left leg. She cannot run, her leg still swells and she is undergoing physiotherapy.

Langa's advocate, Richard Mkhabela, applied for a postponement to next week to prepare for the trial but Potterill instead postponed the trial to Thursday.

Outside court, Langa apologised to victims' families, saying: "I regret the loss of life. I always wanted to reach out to the families but my bail conditions have always prohibited me [from doing] that.

"Some victims are state witnesses and I did meet Stengile once by chance but could not take it any further because she is one of the key state witnesses."

Langa, whose plea bargain proposal has been rejected by the state, said he regretted what happened that day.

"I feel it every day of my life," he said.

Relatives of those killed dismissed his apology as insincere, saying that if he were genuinely sorry he would have apologised before the victims were buried.

Moroesi Mokoatsi, Nomvula Dumako, Keneilwe Lesenyeho and Isaac Tlale were also killed in the crash.

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