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Man pleads guilty to culpable homicide five years after crashing into couple

23 May 2022 - 20:14 By TimesLIVE
This is the wreckage of the vehicle that Ruan Coen, 26, and Jessika Kennedy, 25, were in on December 23 2017.
This is the wreckage of the vehicle that Ruan Coen, 26, and Jessika Kennedy, 25, were in on December 23 2017.
Image: AfriForum

Andrew Kagiso Malele on Monday pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, nearly five years after he caused the deadly crash which killed a newly engaged couple.

The prosecution of Malele was instituted in April last year, after the involvement of AfriForum's private prosecution unit. Malele pleaded guilty in the Pretoria regional court on Monday.

On December 23 2017, Malele crashed his car into the vehicle in which Ruan Coen, 26, and Jessika Kennedy, 25, were driving. The couple had got engaged just three weeks earlier.

Coen and Kennedy were returning to Pretoria from White River along the N4. Malele was driving in the opposite direction, lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the couple’s car.

Both were killed outright.  Malele sustained only minor injuries.

Ursula Kors, Coen’s mother, approached AfriForum after the docket allegedly disappeared from the Silverton police station.

AfriForum said its private prosecution unit worked closely with Col Werner Everson from the Silverton detective branch and Sgt Piet Ferreira from the Sinoville detective branch to recompile the docket so the accused could be prosecuted.

AfriForum said in an emotional meeting before proceedings started, Malele apologised to Kors for killing the couple and causing pain and anguish to their loved ones.

But Kors said justice must still run its course. 

Gerrie Nel, head of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, also said justice must prevail.

“Though we now know that the accused pleaded guilty this morning, we are of the view that he had no other option, that there was a very strong case against him,” Nel said.

Kors said even though the family had forgiven what has happened, she firmly believed justice has to be served and that one had to answer for the choices one had made in life.

“The impact of losing two young people has had a ripple effect on many lives,” Kors said.

Malele's bail was extended.

The matter was postponed until July 7 for a probation officer report and victim impact study to be presented to court.

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