Matsha tragedy trial begins in July


Nearly five years after the infamous Matsha tragedy that claimed the lives of nine students in a road accident, trial against the truck driver, Dogi Thoomadi, is set to commence next month.

About twenty witnesses have been lined up to testify in the case, with the state intending to call seventeen and the accused calling three witnesses.

During the initial case conference management this week,  the defence attorney- Temperance Ketshabile, said the first witness will be the accused, Dogi Thoomadi, while  the other two witnesses will be students, Sentlogele Podidiaroma and Montshwari Baitlhophi.

 The Prosecutor from Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Farayi Mahwite had earlier on told the court that they are likely to call 17 witnesses.

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43-year-old Thoomadi, a driver at Letlhakeng Sub District Council, is facing nine counts of causing death by reckless driving.

The tragedy occurred in November 2015 when a truck transporting Matsha College students overturned, killing five students on the spot while four more later succumbed to injuries, bringing the total number of fatalities to nine.

The students were returning home after their Form 5 examinations at Matsha College in Kang.

The truck sustained damages that included deep dents at the front, dents on the body’s rails, missing windows together with windscreen and burst rear tyre.

According to summary of the case, the truck was overloaded with 126 passengers with their luggage each, instead of its carrying capacity of 56 passengers.

“The driver drove the said vehicle knowing well that it was dangerously overloaded. He also knew that the rear left tyre had overheated and was likely to burst any time. He applied brakes after the tyre burst knowing it to be dangerous to do so,” the summary read in part.

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Particulars of offence are that on November 13th, 2015 at Dutlwe along Morwamosu- Letlhakeng road in Kweneng District the accused recklessly drove a Hino truck registered B577 AOI and thereby causing the deaths of Olebogeng Ngakaagae, Joyce Tsogwane, Sekhuto Mmualebe, Olebile Mosielele,Irene Molebeledi, Barati Phetolo, Neo Kealotswe, Lydia Gakelebone and Oreeditse Kebopelwang.

It is alleged that the truck had been scheduled to transport some of the students but when it arrived at school, the students, even those who were excluded, forced themselves into the truck and none of the school authorities including the driver, checked the load of the truck and the sitting arrangement of the students.

However, Molepolole Magistrate Rosemary Khuto has scheduled trial dates for July 23th and 24th as well as August 5th to 7th, 2020.

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