Road rage murderer says he is remorseful

2007-11-28 00:00

A male nurse found guilty of the “road rage” murder of a Pietermaritzburg taxi driver in April last year told a high court judge yesterday he is very remorseful for causing the man’s death and has sought psychiatric help as a result.

Simanga Wiseman Mthembu (38) was testifying in mitigation of sentence before Judge Chris Nicholson.

The judge asked state advocate Boniswa Mhlana and defence counsel Aron Perumal to research case law and sentences passed in other so-called “road rage” incidents.

The case was postponed until tomorrow and Mthembu’s R1 000 bail was cancelled.

Judge Nicholson rejected Mthembu’s version that the shooting occurred as he defended himself against a knife attack launched by the victim, Derrick Majozi (29).

The judge said Mthembu’s version of the alleged tussle between the two men was “grossly improbable”.

Outlining Mthembu’s version, the judge said he claimed that at no stage when shots were fired was his, Mthembu’s, finger on the trigger of the firearm. This meant, therefore, that, according to him, it must have been Majozi pulling the trigger.

“For [Majozi] to have pulled the trigger accidentally once is certainly a remote possibility. For him to have pulled the trigger accidentally three or four times seems to me to be incredible,” the judge said.

Judge Nicholson said medical evidence — that Majozi was shot three or four times — and suffered serious and deep abrasions to his face consistent with having been punched and kicked, supported the evidence of eyewitnesses for the prosecution who testified that Mthembu severely assaulted Majozi during the incident.

The judge said it was also clear that there was an earlier dispute between the two men on the same day, when they nearly came to blows. If Mthembu had not been “looking for trouble” it was strange that he would have stopped in front of the taxi that evening. Mthembu said if he goes to jail he promises to “come out a better person”.

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