7 years in jail for mall ‘road rage’

2016-06-30 09:54
Shakile Saktu

Shakile Saktu (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - A Midlands man found guilty of deliberately running down another motorist in the parking lot at Liberty Midlands Mall in 2012 was on Wednesday jailed for seven years.

Regional Court Magistrate Bheki­zitha Phoswa convicted Shakile Saktu (31) of the attempted murder of Luchelle Joubert, who was knocked unconscious when he was struck by Saktu’s car following an argument over a parking bay.

Phoswa on Wednesday rejected the “two contradictory versions” Saktu gave about the incident, saying they could not reasonably be true.

Saktu had said in his initial statement to court that he only wanted to “scare” Joubert.

But when he testified he claimed to have acted in self-defence, said Phoswa.

Saktu testified he “panicked” after hearing Joubert’s relatives say something about “getting a gun”. He swerved to avoid another vehicle and tried to go past Joubert, but struck him.

He did not stop after the collision, but drove away and left the mall.

Phoswa said the facts revealed this was a “road rage” incident. The men were involved in a verbal altercation over a parking space that “turned violent”.

According to the evidence of witnesses, Joubert, his wife Ronel, their son and his girlfriend had arrived at the mall on August 8, 2012.

The mall was busy and there was a shortage of parking. They had spoken to another motorist and established that they could take her bay.

Joubert’s son put on his indicator to claim the bay, and then waited while the other car drove out.

Joubert had meanwhile alighted to direct him into the parking space.

As he was about to drive in, Saktu drove around him and tried to take the bay, prompting Joubert to shout at him.

He asked Saktu if he could not see this was their parking space and told him “not to behave like a pig”.

The magistrate said this clearly offended Saktu and the men hurled abuse at each other. As the Jouberts walked towards the mall, Saktu took a wheelspanner from his boot and “charged” at Joubert, who stood his ground and said he was “not afraid” of him.

The altercation was stopped by a security guard, and Joubert and his family continued walking to the mall, while Saktu got into his car, which was facing the opposite direction.

Phoswa said Saktu could easily have left the mall without passing Joubert.

Instead, he “swiftly did a u-turn” and then, driving at high speed on the incorrect side of the road, struck Joubert in the lane where he was walking.

The windscreen shattered on the driver’s side and Joubert fell down unconscious.

Saktu did not stop to check on him but sped off.

“He behaved as if he had just trampled on a fly,” said the magistrate.

Phoswa said Joubert told the court that he “stupidly” told the paramedics he did not need any treatment when the ambulance got there as he had regained consciousness. Shortly thereafter, while reporting the incident at a police station, he collapsed again. He was then admitted to Grey’s Hospital and subsequently continued his treatment in Pretoria.

Phoswa said Joubert’s injuries were clearly serious and Saktu was “fortunate” he had not died. The facts showed Saktu had intended to run him down with his car, and “did not care” if he was seriously hurt or died as a result.

Passing sentence, the magistrate said he had considered the defence submissions that a fine coupled with a suspended sentence would be appropriate, as well as the arguments by regional prosecutor Ricky van Wyk, who referred the court to a case with similar facts where the Supreme Court of Appeals confirmed a six-year sentence of direct imprisonment.

Saktu did not immediately note an intention to appeal against either his conviction or sentence. Members of his family and friends were in tears as he was led to the court cells to start serving his sentence.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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