Five dead but licence returned
BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL: Pretoria driver Sibusiso Langa was ordered to have his licence returned in order to prepare for his upcoming trial after he allegedly mowed down six joggers in 2011.
The mother of one of five runners killed in a Midrand, Gauteng, road incident was fuming after the High Court returned his driving licence to the accused.
Mashudu Mills, 56, spoke to reporters at the High Court in Pretoria soon after the appearance of Sibusiso Langa on five counts of murder, one of attempted murder and driving while inebriated. A sixth runner, Khanyiswa Stengile, survived after surgery.
Mills, the mother of Given Mills, 30, who died in the incident along with
Moroese Mokoatsi (34), Reneilwe Lesenyeho (31), Isaac Tlale (37) and
Nomvula Dumako (35), said: "The decision opens my wound all over again. It's like my child has died right now."
Langa, a mechanical engineer, was allegedly drunk when his Mercedes-Benz ML500 ploughed into the runners on October 23 2011 while they were training for the Soweto Marathon. He was released on R80 000 bail after spending a few days in custody and a Pretoria magistrate sent the case to the Pretoria High Court which, on Monday, ordered Langa's driving licence - seized after the incident - returned as an amendment to bail conditions set by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Judge Sulette Potteril instructed the state to make sure Langa got his licence back as this would allow him to move and consult his lawyers and ferry his witnesses in Gauteng. The decision followed a request by Langa's lawyer, Richard Mkhabela.
Mkhabela told the court preparations for a trial had been hindered because his client's movements were limited. As a result, the defence was not ready to go to trial.
Langa's lawyers submitted a plea-bargain proposal, but it was refused by the state.
The judge gave Langa's team until Thursday (Feb 21) to prepare for trial. She said another request, for a lengthy period of time to prepare, was "unacceptable, this matter must proceed".
Langa told reporters he regretted the incident. "I've always wanted to reach out to the families but my bail conditions prohibited me from doing so."
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