Joggers’ families want justice done

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Sibusiso Langa, who has been convicted on five counts of culpable homicide and drunk driving, sits in the dock during his pre-sentencing hearing at the Pretoria High Court. Photo: Masi Losi

Pretoria - Kgomotso Tlale’s son will never know his father. She was eight-months’ pregnant when her husband was killed by Sibusiso Langa who ploughed into a group of joggers in Midrand, killing five.

This was the evidence of Isaac Tlale’s widow, in a written statement to the Pretoria High Court, in aggravation of sentence.

Langa was last week convicted on five charges of culpable homicide and one of drunken driving following the death of the group of joggers who were practising for the Soweto Marathon.

Isaac Tlale, 37, Reneilwe Lesenyeho, 31, Given Mills, 30, Nomvula Dumako, 35, and Margaret Mokoatso, 35, were all killed on impact when Langa drove his luxury Mercedes Benz into them at high speed. Abigail Stengile was the only survivor.

Several relatives of those who died either testified or handed in statements to court asking Judge Bert Bam to deal harshly with Langa.

They all spoke of the extreme hardship of trying to cope with the death of their loved ones.

The court heard that all those killed were highly qualified people and upstanding citizens.

Tlale said her husband, an electrical engineer, loved life. Sport was his passion; he had climbed Kilimanjaro and run several Comrades and Two Oceans marathons.

She was eight-months’ pregnant when he set off on the morning of October 22, 2011, from Vodaworld in Midrand to jog with his running partners.

“Since my pregnancy he never missed a doctor’s appointment and all of a sudden I had to go through all that alone. I gave birth to his son, who will never know his father. Our three-year-old keeps on asking when her father is coming home.”

The widow said she suffered from depression and at some stage would have to tell her children what had happened to their father. Her husband was promoted to a directorship shortly before his death.

She is planning to move as their home is right where the accident occurred. “As long as I live here and drive past the spot daily, I relive the fatal accident.”

Langa on Wednesday called his pastor, Sakhile Sibeya, who said Langa had asked him to speak to the families of the victims as they wouldn’t speak to him. The pastor said Langa felt terrible about the accident and the fact that people had died. Sibeya said Langa wanted to make amends, even by assisting the families financially if he could.

According to the pastor, the families would not speak to him, so he could convey the message.

But Mills’s mother, Mashudu Mills, on Wednesday told the court she did not believe Langa had remorse.

“All I see is the gentleman Langa. The man who holds a mirror in his hand and all he sees is himself and not what he did. If he goes to jail South Africans will have peace. Pedestrians and runners will no longer have to look over their shoulders to see who will run them over… He belongs in jail.”

Mills said she did not accept Langa had remorse as he was still blaming the runners for the accident. Her daughter was an executive sales manager at Protea Hotels. She loved running and had 53 medals.

Mpontseng Senyego, Reneilwe’s sister, said she tried her best to speak to Langa regarding her sister’s death, but her efforts were fruitless. “He did not seem to want to communicate with me.

“I believe in forgiveness and I want closure… He keeps on saying the accident was their fault and this pains me.”

She said her sister was a chemical engineer.

Mokoatso’s family also paid tribute to her, telling the court that this computer expert, had been the family’s sole breadwinner.

“She was our golden girl and her death left us devastated,” her father Sarel Mokoatso said.

Dumako’s mother, Madiepo, shared these sentiments and said her daughter left a 22-month-old son behind. “He no longer has any recollection of his mother, which breaks my heart.”

She had a BCom degree and was studying towards her MBA when she was killed.

“We cannot describe the pain and tragedy her death has caused. We hope her death was not in vain and that justice will be served,” the mother said.

The matter was postponed to Wednesday when Langa, who remains in custody, will call his psychologist to the stand.

Pretoria News

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