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'No further hope' for blue-light victim

2014-09-30 08:25

PARENTS IN PAIN: Priscilla and Paul Ferreira, parents of Thomas who was knocked off a motorcycle by a VIP car. INSET: Blue-light driver Joseph Motsamai Semitjie who left their son brain-damaged. Image: Sapa


JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Thomas Ferreira, the young man knocked off his motorcycle by blue-light driver Joseph Motsamai Semitjie in 2012, will not recover further from his severe injuries.

Neurologist Dr Desmond Shamley told the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday (Sept 29 2014) during sentencing procedures for Semitjie: "There will be no further meaningful recovery. From clinical experience and neurological literature, the brain has a limited period to recover.

"Most of the recovery takes place in the first six months. You don't recover significantly after two years. You reach a plateau of recovery."


Semitjie, a former driver for the then Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi, was convicted on December 3 2013 of reckless and negligent driving.

He was driving Mmemezi to a meeting when he crashed into Ferreira and his motorcycle in November 2011. Ferreira, 18 at the time, suffered head injuries, was comatose for weeks. A lengthy period of rehabilitation followed.

During the trial the court heard that Semitjie was driving on the left of the yellow line, had not switched on his siren, and drove through a red traffic light.

Shamley told the court he had seen Ferreira five times since the collision. "My opinion is that he will have difficulty finding employment due to the nature of the head injury,” he said. “I do not believe he will be able to live on his own. I have been in discussion with his mother to put him in a place of sheltered employment."


Would Ferreira be able to maintain a relationship? Shamley said that was difficult to predict. "It’s a difficult one to answer because he is impulsive and has mood swings. The question is will a girlfriend be able to handle him? He might have a girlfriend, but it might not be long-term."

He added that Ferreira's mental capacity had degenerated since the crash. The young man was home-schooled, the doctor said, but was not coping.

"He just wasn't able to function. When he was put on a Grade 7 level he was not able to function.”

Magistrate Abdul Khan postponed the case to November 20 to allow the state to call a psychiatrist to testify. Prosecutor Micky Thesner had asked for a postponement until Thursday (Oct 2) but Semitjie's advocate Michael Monareng indicated he would not be available until November.

Read more on:    thomas ferreira  |  johannesburg  |  court case

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