Tragic twist in jogger's crash death
Hanti Otto, Beeld
Johannesburg - While the man who allegedly killed five joggers in a hit-and-run accident appeared briefly in the Pretoria Regional Court on Monday, one of the same court’s senior prosecutors went to the mortuary to identify the body of his wife, who is one of the victims.
Nomvula Dumako, 35, the wife of Trott Mphahlele, who had a sombre birthday yesterday, was one of the five joggers who were fatally hit by a Mercedes Benz ML500 early on Saturday morning.
The accused, Sibusiso Langa, 44, a mechanical engineer of Kosmosdal in the south of Centurion, faces five charges of murder, one of attempted murder and one of driving while drunk.
A police statement reads that the tall, slender accused lost control of his luxury vehicle on Saturday at about 06:00 - swerving across to road to race head-on into oncoming traffic.
He then ploughed into a group of joggers near the corner of Olifantsfontein Road and Lever Street, just north of Midrand.
Given Mills, 30, from Bezuidenhout Valley in Johannesburg; Moroeshi Mokoatsi, 34, Reneilwe Lesenyeho, 31, and Gaolojwe Isaac Tlale, 37, died with Dumako.
A sixth jogger, Abigail Sthengile, 29, of Northriding in Randburg, is in a critical condition in the Sunninghill Hospital.
Several court officials attended yesterday's short hearing in a gesture of solidarity with their colleague.
One of them told Beeld that they would not be able to prosecute the case because they would not be able to maintain objectivity.
Langa, who appeared tense and licked his lips often, was dressed in a neat, white shirt and black suit.
The chief control prosecutor, advocate Matric Luphondo, requested that the case be postponed until Friday for a formal bail application.
This will give the state and police time to confirm Langa's address and possible previous convictions.
Regional magistrate Maryke de la Rey explained to Langa that if he is found guilty of murder, the law on minimum sentences stipulates that a first-time offender must get 15 years' imprisonment.
After the case adjourned Langa was taken to the New Lock prison in Pretoria.
He seemed surprised when - dressed in a more comfortable shirt - he was met by a sea of photographers outside the court.
Friends of the victims who attended the court case said they were glad "that justice can now take its course".