Still no justice for Thomas Ferreira

2014-03-13 15:15

It has been a tough journey for the Ferreira family since their son, Thomas, was injured when a blue-light vehicle driver crashed into his motorbike, leaving him with severe brain injuries.

Speaking to the media outside the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court today, his mother, Priscilla Ferreira, said it had been a stressful two years and four months for them.

She had been attending what was supposed to be the sentencing proceedings of Joseph Motsamai Semitjie, the man who drove into her son.

“It hasn’t just ruined his life, it has ruined all our lives,” said Ferreira. “Friends and family have shunned us.”

Her 18-year-old daughter was also having a hard time dealing with her brother’s condition.

The blonde, frail, soft-spoken woman said although her son’s condition had stabilised, there were hardly any signs of improvement.

The 21-year-old is scheduled for another operation next week.

While the proceedings are slowly drawing to an end, Ferreira said they had never received any apology from Semitjie.

“No ... He has never spoken to us or apologised to us. The only person who came and spoke to us was the premier [Nomvula Mokonyane] and that was three days after the incident,” said Ferreira.

Semitjie had been driving former Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi to a meeting when he crashed into Ferreira in 2011.

During the trial, it was heard that Semitjie was driving on the left side of the yellow lane, had not put on his siren, and skipped a red traffic light.

The then 18-year-old biker was comatose for several weeks after the incident.

Delivering judgment in the case in December, Magistrate Abdul Khan lashed out at Semitjie for not offering any assistance to Ferreira, even though he had not suffered any visible injuries.

Before proceedings started today, Priscilla Ferreira sat alone in the last bench of the courtroom while Semitjie and his entourage sat in the front row, engaging in conversation.

Khan later postponed Semitjie’s case to April 3.

This was to allow his newly appointed lawyer, Thomas Mahlobogoane, time to obtain the court records from the trial and get a presentencing agreement form.

Mahlobogoane told the court he had written to the court clerk on January 27 requesting the records, but had not received any response.

Prosecutor Mickey Thesner was not pleased with the postponement.

“What is concerning is that the accused waited six weeks to appoint a new lawyer,” she said, adding that it would be a mammoth task for the lawyer to get the court records typed.

It was unclear why Semitjie dropped his lawyer, Moses Rankoa, after his conviction.

The April proceedings will be conducted to check on the progress of the compilation of the court records, but Semitjie’s official sentencing will only be at a later stage.

Semitjie, who wore an orange jacket and blue jeans to court today, is not in police custody.

Mahlobogoane later told the media that he and his client were not interested in speaking to them.

“No comment,” said Mahlobogoane as he got into his car.

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