Sunil Parekh.
Sunil Parekh.

Family of joggers killed in hit-and-run want justice

By Charlene Somduth Time of article published Oct 13, 2021

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Durban: Sunil Parekh and Anil Singh loved keeping fit. Both belonged to the Tongaat Panthers Athletic Club, and met regularly while jogging. On Saturday, while out on a run, they were killed when they were knocked down by a car.

The alleged driver of the vehicle, Ali Mohamed, 29, allegedly fled the scene before he crashed the car into a minibus taxi.

None of the passengers of the taxi was injured.

Mohamed was arrested and charged with culpable homicide and contravention of the Immigration Act.

He appeared in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Monday and the matter was adjourned until next week for him to apply for bail. He is being detained at the Tongaat SAPS.

Parekh ran a car licensing business while Singh was an account administrator for a car hire company. Both men lived in Tongaat and were 59 years old.

Manoj Parekh said his brother, Sunil, would have celebrated his birthday on Monday.

"Normally on his birthday our families get together with our mom to have supper. We did get together but this time to say goodbye. Sunil was the father figure in our family. He was gentle, compassionate, helpful and he showed us endless love."

Parekh said his brother’s interest in sport was sparked by his father, Balu Parekh.

“My dad is now late but in the 1960s he started a professional football team called the Verulam Suburbs. Sunil would watch them. He started getting involved in athletics. He was part of the Tongaat Panthers Athletic Club for 20 years and ran four to five times a week."

Parekh said his brother participated in the Soweto Marathon and other local races.

"It is a difficult time for us. We are trying to be strong for his wife and two daughters. He was married for about 31 years and they are a close-knit family. We are aware that someone has been arrested for the incident. We want justice to take its course."

Rakesh Singh, the brother of Anil Singh, said: "We want justice to prevail. The accused has allegedly taken two lives. He has allegedly robbed two fathers, who were in the prime of their lives, from watching their children grow up, get married and become parents as well. He needs to face the consequences of his actions."

Rakesh said Singh is survived by his wife and two children.

"It is hard for the family to take all of this in. It is not a natural death and so the family is taking it hard. He and his wife were married for more than 28 years. He was a humble person who was loved by everyone. He joined the Tongaat Panthers Athletic Club a few years ago and participated in competitions. He liked to keep fit."

Keshni Maharaj, the chairperson of the Tongaat Panthers Athletic Club, said law enforcement needed to ensure there was better protection for joggers and cyclists.

"As a club, we are devastated that we have lost them in such a manner. The courts need to be harsh when handing down sentences for those responsible for reckless driving especially when lives are being lost."

Nazir Sadeck, from the Tongaat Policing Forum, said: "I knew both men. You don't expect an incident of this nature at your doorstep. Residents try to be safe by running on the pavement. We are hoping a proper course of justice is served and carried out because two wives have lost their husbands and four children have lost their fathers."

Captain Nqobile Gwala, a police spokesperson, said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.

Both men were cremated at the Tongaat Crematorium, Parekh on Monday and Singh on Tuesday.

Anil Singh

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