Trial delay irks families of killed joggers

Crime & Courts

Pretoria - Family and friends of the five joggers killed in Midrand when an engineer allegedly ploughed into them, were frustrated and angry when the case of Sibusiso Langa was postponed for the second time in a week because his legal team were not ready to proceed with the case.

Some of the family members had to be reprimanded by a court orderly when they loudly gasped as Pretoria High Court Judge Sulette Potterill postponed the case to November 11. The judge warned that this would be the last postponement and that the case would run until November 29.

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21/02/2012 Sibusiso Langa accused of killing five joggers in Midrand is seen at the Pretoria High Court yesterday.
Picture: Phill Magakoe21/02/2012 Family members wear t-shirts bearing faces of loved ones that were allegedly killed by Sibusiso Langa during their morning jog in Midrand.
Picture: Phill Magakoe

Nkotseng Lesenyetho, the sister of jogger Reneliwe Lesenyetho, cried bitterly as the judge postponed the case. She ran out of court afterwards and had to be consoled by friends.

“Every time I see (Langa) I feel angry. The postponement means that they do not care about us, the families. We need closure,” the emotional woman said.

Another woman, who would not give her name, shouted at Langa seconds after the case was postponed: “You better pray you are still alive.”

The case had been postponed on Monday to Thursday as Langa said he could not get hold of his witnesses.

The judge amended the bail conditions this week and ruled that Langa could drive his car again. She had given him and his team until Thursday to consult witnesses.

But Langa’s advocate, Richard Mkhabela, said they were not ready as they had tried to consult witnesses who were security guards at Blue Valley Estates in Midrand.

Langa, who took the witness stand, also said they tried their best to get hold of these people, but their supervisor said they worked night shift for a few days and could not be approached.

Langa said these people were vital to his case, as some of them witnessed him leaving the estate that night and others were in the vicinity when the accident occurred.

The State vehemently opposed the postponement and said Langa had surely told his advocate what happened that day. The defence did not need these witnesses to present its case at this stage.

Langa, however, insisted that it was important to consult them first.

He also said his lawyers had withdrawn from the case and he had just secured a new lawyer.

Following an adjournment during which the judge called counsel to her chambers, the parties agreed that the matter would be postponed. The judge said this was due to no fault of any of the parties, as it was clear the case couldn’t proceed. The State offered to help in securing these witnesses on behalf of the defence if it had problems in this regard.

Langa has not yet been asked to plead to nine charges, including five of murder and one of attempted murder.

It is alleged that Langa was under the influence of alcohol when he ploughed into the group of joggers in October 2011 while they were training for the Soweto Marathon. Lesenyego, 31, Moroese Mokoatsi, 34, Given Mills, 30, Isaac Thale, 37, and Nomvula Dumako, 25, died.

Mills’s mother, Sarah Mashudu, told Pretoria News on Thursday the family needed to get closure. She said Langa had not asked the family for their forgiveness or said he was sorry. “He did it via the media, but that is not enough.”

Pretoria News

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