130130-cape town-Sisa Nonama leaves the Cape Town Regional Court accompanied by his uncle Zandisile Ndyikityhe and other relatives after his sentencing was postponed and his attorney dropped his case. PHOTOGRAPHER: RYAN JACOBS

Barbara Maregele

RELATIVES of the bus driver convicted in the De Doorns crash that left 23 people dead nearly three years ago, say the case is causing immense “emotional and financial strain” on the family.

This after the case faced yet another delay in the Cape Town Regional Court yesterday.

Sisa Nonama was the driver of an unlicensed bus which crashed on May 5, 2010, rolling a number of times on the pass between De Doorns and Touws River, killing 23 people. The bus was travelling from the Eastern Cape where, according to reports at the time, it had been suspended as unroadworthy. It was carrying 78 passengers instead of the 64 it was certified to carry.

Nonama appeared frail in the dock yesterday where his case was postponed for three weeks for sentencing procedures.

Nonama’s sister, Lugiswa Nonama, said the case was a strain on their finances and Nonama’s health. “This is taking too long now, we want it to come to an end. He (Nonama) is so stressed, it is making him so sick. We feel bad for the families of those who died, but this was just his job, a way to feed his family,” she said.

Lugiswa Nonama, who travelled from KwaZulu-Natal to attend her brother’s hearings, was joined by their brother Maliga and three other relatives yesterday.

They listened attentively as prosecutor Willem Tarentaal read the letter written by Nonama’s lawyer Thabo Nogemane, explaining his withdrawal from the case.

“I have not renewed the fidelity fund certificate allowing my appearance in court today. Mr Nonama has indicated that he will be applying for legal aid,” it read.

However, magistrate Bruce Langa told Nonama that “time was of the essence”.

“There have been a lot of delays. We can’t postpone for issues relating to legal representation. You (Nonama)… have to make up your mind or this case will have to proceed without legal representation,” he said.

After the short adjournment, lawyer Wimpie Strauss confirmed that he would be appearing for Nonama, but said he needed time to prepare particulars for the sentencing proceedings. Langa said he had no problem postponing so Strauss could familiarise himself with the documents.

In October last year, Nonama pleaded guilty to 23 counts of culpable homicide. Three children were among the dead.

Fifteen people were seriously injured.

The case was postponed until February 27 and 28.

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