Joseph Motsamai Semitjie

Johannesburg - The “blue light” driver accused of knocking over teenager Thomas Ferreira is depressed, the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

Psychologist Carl de Jager told the court that Joseph Motsamai Semitjie was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and had suicidal thoughts.

After their first consultation on July 3, 2012, De Jager said Semitjie was very depressed and referred him to a psychiatrist to obtain medication.

They had had more than 20 consultations since.

The former driver for then Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi was convicted of reckless or negligent driving on December 3. He was driving Mmemezi to a meeting when he crashed into Ferreira, who was on a motorcycle, in November 2011.

Ferreira, who was 18 at the time, suffered brain damage and was comatose for weeks.

De Jager said Semitjie felt genuine remorse during his consultations with him.

“He is showing remorse and feeling sad about what happened because it is a human life that was destroyed.”

The court heard that Semitjie received no support after the incident.

“He had to report to work daily but did no work. He felt insecure, isolated and it broke him down,” De Jager told the court.

He said Semitjie was not given any legal or financial support from the SA Police Service, provincial government, or the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, even though the accident happened during working hours.

This was unfair labour practice, De Jager said.

“This was an injury on duty but he did not get any support legally or financially. Even today, he has taken leave (to appear in court).

“I feel he is a victim of a system he was working under. He was following instructions.”