Pretoria - While road rage is common in our country and many motorists are angered by others who do not heed to the traffic rules, motorists who take the law into their own hands and harm others as a result, will not be tolerated, a judge warned on Thursday.
Gauteng High Court, Pretoria Judge Bert Bam sentenced a Brits school bus driver to an effective 15 years imprisonment for stabbing a fellow motorist to death during a road rage incident.
Judge Bam said it often happened that people have no regard for other road users. “It is not surprising that this has an effect on people’s tempers, but they must control themselves. Road rage is not justified in law, nor is taking the law into your own hands.”
Zakaria Semakela, 30, asked for the court to have mercy on him, as he did not mean to harm fellow motorist Morne Kuhn on March 10, last year. “I will never repeat this mistake again,” he said during his evidence in mitigation of sentence.
Kuhn fetched his 11-year-old daughter at the Raboni School near Brits that day, while Semakela did his usual school run.
According to some of the children who were in Semakela’s minibus and who witnessed the incident, he turned in front of traffic in a reckless manner. Kuhn, who had to suddenly apply his brakes to avoid an accident, showed Semakela “the middle finger”. Semakela in turn also showed him a rude sign.
They stopped next to the road and a heated argument ensued. Semakela slapped Kuhn and the latter hit him with a wooden bat on the head.
While Semakela was nursing his wound, Kuhn walked back to his vehicle, where his daughter was waiting. Semakela went after him and stabbed him a fatal blow in the chest. Kuhn instantly died on the spot, in front of his child.
The little girl, whose name is withheld on request of her mother, wrote a heartrending letter to the court, in which she said she will never forget how her father had “bled to death.”