Judge praised for taxi driver's sentence

2012-02-29 17:15

Cape Town - A Western Cape High Court judge's jailing of a taxi driver after a fatal accident should be an example to other judges, KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC Willies Mchunu on Wednesday.

"I would like to commend Judge Robert Henney for this landmark and bold decision to sentence Jacob Humphreys," Mchunu said in a statement.

"Two cases of a similar nature are pending here in [KwaZulu-Natal). I hope that this decision will encourage other judges to take firm sentences if faced with cases of this nature."

The first case was against Themba Mazibuko, who was making a U-turn on the N3 highway, in Kokstad, in August when a bus crashed into his minibus taxi. Both vehicles rolled down a 10-metre embankment and landed in a river.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charged him with the murders of the 10 people killed in the accident.

Taxi driver Khululeka Gwala, 22, faces murder and attempted murder charges after overtaking a truck in Copesville, near Pietermaritzburg, and colliding with a truck in September last year. Fifteen people died.

Mchunu's spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said charging drivers with murder instead of culpable homicide was appropriate in certain circumstances.

"It's unlike your normal accident, an unfortunate event. Here, if you analyse the circumstances, people are ignoring the rules of law and trying to do their own thing," he said.

"You find people losing their lives and someone must pay."

The NPA emphasised on Wednesday that not all drivers involved in car accidents would be charged with murder.

"Each case will be judged on its own merits," spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.

Humphreys was convicted of murder following an accident on August 25 2010 at the Buttskop level crossing in Cape Town.

While taking children to school, he overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks.

A train hit the taxi, killing 10 of the children. Four others were seriously injured.

  • Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-02-29 18:10

    it is indeed murder!! If I fire a weapon and it kills, it is murder. Same senario: If I drive a vehicle recklesly and I kill because I chose to disobey the rules of the road, I have killed. Dead is dead. killing by gun or driving badly- dead is dead. and they died by his hands!

  • Holden - 2012-02-29 18:51

    Give Judge Robert Henney a Bells.

  • Fourie - 2012-02-29 22:54

    it should have been 25 years for each child. Unfortunately in south africa if u get 10 life sentences the first one cancels the others out and he end up only doing the one life sentence. Word out on the street is that he will only serve 8yrs.

      Jody - 2012-03-01 08:45

      word out on the street...which street is this?

  • Saamprater - 2012-03-01 07:28

    Now if this guy is charged for murder because "he could foresee" that his actions would bring about the death of people, how about telling that to every taxi driver out there? Jumping a red light could cause death. Taking over or passing cars in the yellow line could cause death. Overloading could cause death Driving with an un-roadworthy vehicle could cause death I would be very very afraid if I was a taxi driver or overhaul my driving habits if I was a taxi driver. The Law :1 Taxis: 0 Good going there judge, our children will remember your name

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