Ruling on Matsha tragedy set for next month

ACCUSED: Thoomadi

Nearly six years after the infamous Matsha tragedy that claimed the lives of nine students in a freak road accident, a Molepolole Magistrates Court will on October 19th determine whether or not the accused truck driver, Dogi Thoomadi, has a case to answer.

The tragedy occurred in November 2015 when Matsha College students were returning to their respective homes after their Form 5 examinations.

The ruling had been scheduled for last Tuesday but defence attorney, Temperance Ketshabile, requested for a postponement as he had not had the chance to furnish the prosecution with his written submissions due to a car accident he had recently.

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“I had an accident in June from which I was unable to work for a long time, may I be given up to the September 28th,” pleaded Ketshabile

Presiding Magistrate, Rosemary Khuto considered the request by the defence to file their submissions and ordered them to do so on or before September 28th.

The prosecution on the other hand are expected to file their submissions before October 5th, 2021 while the ruling will be on October 19th, 2021.

In the event the court decides there is a case to answer, Thoomadi intends to call three witnesses.

However, it was earlier revealed during trial that Thoomadi did not have a Professional Driving Permit (PrDP) to carry passengers when he transported the students.

Through his testimony the investigating officer, Gerald Police Station Traffic Officer, Assistant Superintendent Keemenao Ketlogetswe, previously stationed at Letlhakeng Police during the time of the incident, told the court that he interviewed Thoomadi about the PrDP and he failed to produce the document.

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“PrDP is given to drivers who are tested to drive taxis, buses including train-buses and double-decker ones. They go through the test to know the importance of carrying passengers and how they carry them,” ASP Ketlogetswe explained in court.

He further disclosed that Thoomadi told him he was instructed by the supervisor which he said he could have told his supervisor that his licence did not allow him to carry passengers.

The investigator also blamed Thoomadi for causing the death of students based on facts that at Tshwane some students alerted him about the rear left tyre which was said to be overheating and he failed to take action.

According to the summary of the case, the truck was overloaded with126 passengers with their luggage each, instead of carrying the recommended capacity of 56 passengers.

Particulars of the 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.

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