Pretoria - After spending nearly seven months of his effective 12-year jail sentence behind bars for driving into a group of joggers in Midrand, killing five of them, mechanical engineer Sibusiso Langa is now on R10 000 bail.
This is pending an appeal before a Full Bench (three judges) in the North Gauteng High Court.
In December, Judge Bert Bam refused Langa leave to appeal against his conviction on five counts of culpable homicide and subsequent convictions, including one on drunken driving.
Langa petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, which has now granted him leave to appeal against his drunken driving conviction. He may also appeal against his sentence on the five charges of culpable homicide. He may, however, not appeal against his conviction in this regard.
Judge Bam agreed to set bail, as the State did not oppose this.
He ordered that all Langa’s travel documents remain in the possession of the investigating officer pending the outcome of the appeal.
Langa’s convictions and subsequent jail sentence followed an accident in the early hours of October 22, 2011, during which he ploughed into a group of joggers who were practising for the Soweto Marathon. Only one member of the group survived the accident.
From the start Langa maintained that he could not have avoided the accident as the runners ran into his lane. He said he only saw them when he came around a corner, and it was then too late to avoid them.
The court had rejected this and Bam found Langa showed no regard for the lives of other road users: he was driving a powerful car (a Mercedes) on the wrong side of the road and that he was under the influence of alcohol.
Langa testified that he has been out all night with friends.