Under-age driver on murder chargeComment on this story
Johannesburg - Grade 10 pupil Ofentse Rammitlwa was attending a fun day at Mondeor High School on October 20. A friend had invited the Gresswold Senior School boy to the school.
After the fun day ended at about 5pm, he was crossing the road to get to his friend on the other side. He was in the middle of the road when a Toyota Tazz approached at high speed.
It is alleged that the car did not stop at the four-way stop where Ofentse was crossing. It hit him, dragged him for about 10m and threw him against a stationary minibus taxi nearby.
When the car stopped, the driver and his friends tried to flee, but were apprehended before they had got far.
Ofentse’s mother Phumzile, who had been called by her son’s friend, arrived at the scene to find her only son lying dead on the ground. A police officer pointed out the alleged driver, and she was shocked.
“He was poep dronk [sloshed] and could not even walk properly. On top of that, he was being disrespectful to the police officer, saying he must not hold him by his shirt and rather by his belt,” the woman recalled.
Now Phumzile, her husband Mike and daughter Palesa are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.
It still hurts to talk about what happened and they have not made any drastic changes to Ofentse’s bedroom in their Kibler Park home. Mike said the police had opened a case of murder.
Not only are they hurting, they are also frustrated by witnesses’ unwillingness to make statements to the police.
The couple are of the opinion that no one wants to testify in court because their parents don’t want their lives interrupted by the court case.
They are appealing to anyone who witnessed the accident to make a statement to the Mondeor police.
The Rammitlwas are not the latest family to be plunged into mourning due to a young unlicensed driver. Last week, a 16-year-old teenager ploughed into four primary school children after stealing his grandmother’s car in Kaalfontein, Midrand.
Two of the girls died and the others are in hospital.
The spokesman for the Road Traffic Management Corporation, Ashref Ismail, said more and more unlicensed youngsters were roaming the roads.
Some, he said, were even being given the cars by their parents to take to school.
Ismail said they had once received a call from one school, where teachers complained that they had no parking as it was taken by pupils who were now driving to school.
Investigations revealed that out of 11 cars that teenagers from the ages of 16 to 18 were driving to the school, only three had licences.
“Most of these children drive these cars with their parents’ knowledge. It can’t be that a 16-year-old child has a car. When you see them, you don’t even have to wonder about their age, they are so small. They will then go out spinning or drifting.
“At that age they think they are invincible, and they only think about the consequences when they are caught,” he said.
It is not known who the car belonged to or how it ended up in the youngster’s possession.
The police had not responded at the time of going to print.