Taxi driver who killed Stander given six-year sentence

TWENTY-SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Njabulo Nyawose, the taxi driver responsible for the death of world-class cyclist, ­Burry Stander (25) in January 2013, was yesterday sentenced to six years’ ­imprisonment.

Three years of the sentence was ­however conditionally suspended for five years.

Magistrate Charmaine Barnard of Port Shepstone also cancelled ­Nyawose’s driver’s licence.

She imposed a further fine of R5 000 (alternatively three months’ ­imprisonment) on Nyawose for ­disobeying a road sign, but ordered that the fine also be suspended for five years on condition that he was not ­convicted of a similar offence again.

The latter was in relation to the fact that Njabulo crossed over a solid ­barrier line to overtake stationary ­vehicles, said NPA spokesperson ­Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, who ­attended the sentencing.

Fever journalist Candyce Krishna said the court was packed, but only Stander’s mother, Mandie, and a friend were there to represent the Stander family.

Stander’s wife, Cherise, did not ­attend yesterday.

Mandie Stander sobbed quietly throughout the proceedings and when court adjourned she hugged state ­prosecutor Christelle Rossouw and left immediately without speaking to­ ­journalists.

Nyawose became tearful when sentence was passed.

Ramkisson-Kara said however that he was later granted bail of R1 000 pending an application by him for leave to appeal his conviction and sentences, a date for which has not yet been ­finalised.

The general manager of the Cycling SA National Federation, Michael Robert Bradley, told the court in aggravation of sentence that had Stander lived he would most likely have won the Commonwealth Games in 2014, ­Ramkisson-Kara told The Witness.

Bradley described Stander as a world standard cyclist — an icon in the cycling world, who was irreplaceable.

He described his death as a ­formidable loss for cycling in South ­Africa. At the time of Stander’s death, SA was ranked eighth in the world, and following his death the ranking dropped to 23rd.

Bradley described Stander as a “modest, humble young man” and said despite his popularity he was never ­self-obsessed.

At one stage when he was offered three local sponsorships, he arranged for the companies to fund other ­up-and-coming cyclists as he already had international sponsorships. He ­also helped mentor other cyclists, said Bradley.

Ramkisson-Kara said one of the factors which Barnard took into account when passing sentence was the fact that she found that there was no indication of real remorse on Nyawose’s part.

She said it was hard to determine if he felt only regret for the consequences of his actions, or was genuinely ­remorseful. The defence had rejected any suggestion of Nyawose serving ­imprisonment, even when the court proposed the possibility of imposing periodical imprisonment on Nyawose.

Barnard emphasised the gross negligence of Nyawose’s actions on the day of the accident, which directly resulted in Stander’s death while he was on a training ride in the Shelly Beach area.

According to earlier reports in the media Nyawose — who was convicted in April this year — collided with ­Stander in peak hour traffic. The court found that he overtook stationary ­vehicles to turn into a side street and get out of a traffic jam. In doing so, he disregarded a solid white barrier line and did not keep a proper lookout for oncoming traffic.

Stander came fifth in the men’s cross-country race at the 2012 London Olympics. Four years earlier, at the ­Beijing Games, he finished 15th in the cross-country event.

In 2011 Stander became the first South African to win the Cape Epic stage race in the Western Cape with his Swiss partner, Christoph Sauser. The pair defended their title in 2012

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