Johannesburg - Sibusiso Langa, the mechanical engineer who drove into a group of joggers in Midrand two years ago, killing five of them, regretted the loss of life, his pastor testified in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Pastor Sakhile Sibeya testified that he had unsuccessfully tried to make contact with the families of the victims to convey Langa's remorse.
Langa was found guilty last month on five charges of culpable homicide and one of drunk driving.
Sibeya said Langa had told him he would be willing to consider some form of financial contribution to the families of the victims.
Asked if Langa was willing to take responsibility for driving drunk and killing five people while driving on the wrong side of the road, Sibeya said they did not talk about this.
“He communicated regret for the loss of life, that he had remorse and that this incident had affected him terribly,” he said.
Mashudu Mills, whose daughter Given died in the accident, laughed when she heard this evidence.
She testified that her daughter was a passionate runner who had won 53 medals, including one in the Comrades marathon and two in the Soweto marathon for which she was training when she died.
She had a business management and marketing degree and was a sales manager at Protea Hotels at the time of her death.
She was an enthusiastic, lovable person whose friends called her “Diva” because of her love of drama and life. They still celebrated her birthday every year.
“All I see is a man who has no remorse at all. All I see is a man who holds a mirror in his hand. All he sees is himself,” she said.
Her daughter had adopted a younger sibling's child, who now had to be raised by her grandmother.
Mills still felt that Langa had murdered her daughter and said he deserved to be sent to jail so that South Africans would know they did not have to fear being knocked down from behind while running.
She said she would not accept Langa's insistence that what happened was just a tragic accident.
“After two years, it's not a sorry. It's just words,” she said.
Reneilwe Lesenyeho's younger sister Nkhotseng testified that the family had lost a friend, breadwinner and mother figure with the death of her sister, who was a chemical engineer employed as a senior project manager.
Lesenyeho had been supporting her and the four-year-old child of a family member, and life without her was a tragedy, she said.
She had tried to reach out to Langa, and had even gave him her telephone number in an effort to obtain closure, but was rebuffed every time.
Isaac Tlale's wife Kgomotso was eight months pregnant with their second child when her husband was killed.
He was an electrical engineer who had just been promoted to director of his company.
Tlale said in a statement her husband's death had changed her life drastically overnight.
She battled with depression and had become a single working mother who had to raise two toddlers on her own.
Seeing Langa in court without any sign of remorse had brought back all her anger and hatred for him, she said.
Tlale was contemplating selling her house because she lived near the accident scene, and had to pass the place where her husband died every day.
Nomvula Dumako's mother Madiepo said her daughter had loved life and her family.
She had an honours degree in information technology, had worked as a developer, and had planned to do her MBA.
Nomvula's son was 22-months-old when his mother died, had no recollection of her and would never feel the motherly love her daughter would have given him, she said.
Margaret Mokoatsi was studying for a Bcom degree and was working as a specialist in information security at a bank at the time of her death.
She was a breadwinner, supporting her sickly father and unemployed younger brother.
“She was the golden girl to the family. Our hearts will remain sore because she was brutally murdered,” her family said in a statement.
Judge Bert Bam postponed the trial to December 11 for the evidence of a psychologist.