Driver gets six years for causing 23 deaths

2013-03-26 16:42

A man will spend six years in jail for the deaths of 23 people in a bus crash he caused, the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court has ruled.

Magistrate Bruce Langa sentenced Sisa Nonama (41) to nine years’ imprisonment, three of which would be suspended for five years.

This suspension was on condition that he not be convicted of culpable homicide involving a motor vehicle during that period.

The 23 counts of culpable homicide were counted as one for the purposes of sentencing as they flowed from one incident.

Nonama was driving a bus from Leeu-Gamka to Cape Town in the early hours of May 2010 when he lost control of the vehicle on the Hex River Pass.

It was later revealed that he was driving 20km over the speed limit, that he did not have the correct licence for driving the bus and that the vehicle was not roadworthy.

The court also fined him R500 (or one year in jail) for not having the right licence, and R1 000 (or six months in jail) for the unroadworthiness of the vehicle. The sentences would run concurrently with the main sentence.

Langa said the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating factors and that “the imposition of a prison term was an inescapable conclusion”.

Nonama’s defence had been hoping for a fully suspended jail term or correctional supervision.

“My view is that he should have foreseen the consequences of his actions given the dreadful conditions that prevailed on that road,” Langa said.

He found the degree of negligence in this instance was serious rather than trivial.

“That people lost their lives and limbs makes it more serious.”

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