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Private Prosecution Unit ensures justice for food delivery man killed by drunk driver

A grieving mother believes she would never have seen justice for her son, Motheo Madihlaba, without the intervention and support of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit. Granny Madihlaba was reacting to the sentence imposed on Jonas Noediegi Sebati in the Middelburg Magistrates Court.

On 10 June, the court sentenced Sebati to eight years imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years, for culpable homicide, as well as a R4 000 fine or one year in prison for driving under the influence of alcohol. Sebati pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year.

A grateful Granny Madihlaba said after court proceedings that justice has been served. “My boy was killed two years ago. AfriForum ensured that the perpetrator was brought to court. If it was not for AfriForum I would never have seen Sebati. I am happy that he was sentenced. The case is over and I can move on with my life,” she said.

On the Easter Weekend of 16 April 2022, Sebati overtook two vehicles on a solid white line and collided head-on with Madihlaba, who was on duty and riding a scooter. He died at the scene. Several motorists who witnessed the incident said Sebati was visibly intoxicated. Madihlaba had only been working at the restaurant for a month, but his employer described him as trustworthy, hardworking, and well-liked.

Motheo’s mother, approached the Private Prosecution Unit in May 2022, concerned that the case was not receiving adequate attention. The police had arrested Sebati at the scene of the accident, but he was released on police bail of R1500 and not required to appear in court to face a charge of culpable homicide. 

The unit urgently raised these concerns in a letter to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which later confirmed that the police had not presented the docket to it for a decision to prosecute the case because the investigator was waiting for blood-alcohol test results. The NPA disregarded the unit’s advice that Sebati could be charged with culpable homicide and drunk driving based on the various eyewitness accounts that described how the collision occurred and his state of sobriety.

Nevertheless, Sebati was eventually summonsed to appear in court in December last year.

“We doubt the investigation into Motheo’s death would have been finalised and enrolled if it hadn’t been for the Private Prosecution Unit’s pressure on the NPA,” said Barry Bateman, the unit’s spokesperson. “Too often, culpable homicide cases go unresolved, and families are left without closure, due to endless delays in obtaining blood-alcohol results, despite the fact that eyewitnesses can confirm that a driver was intoxicated.

“Our office will continue to support victims of crime and their families to ensure that justice is served. We are satisfied that Granny has found closure,” concluded Bateman.

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