ALMOST three months after Walmer High School pupil Mpumelelo Apleni was killed in a tragic hit-and-run accident on the Seaview Road, authorities are still waiting to charge the driver who admitted to being involved in the accident.
Apleni, 19, died after he was struck by a car and flung 16m into the bush on the side of the Seaview Road in May.
Witnesses who were walking about 10m ahead of Apleni allege racist remarks were shouted from the car and a beer bottle was thrown at one of them. A few days later Ruben Botha, 26, was arrested after handing himself over to the police. He was taken to court, but released without appearing.
Botha’s lawyer, James Riley, then released a statement in which he described the incident as a "tragic accident” and denied it was a deliberate racial attack, as witnesses had alleged.
Riley said at the time that Botha’s name was being withheld as he feared a backlash from members of the public.
" ... my client denies that there was a racist attack on the deceased and that beer bottles etc were thrown at the witnesses,” the statement read. "This version of the events is fabricated and will be contested vehemently in court when the time arises.
"There was no maliciousness or intent on my client’s part and it was purely a tragic accident.”
The statement said that Botha had been travelling within the speed limit on the Seaview Road while heading into Mount Pleasant, when he "struck something” on the side of the road. "The road was extremely dark, foggy and his lights were on dim. He was unsure what he had collided with and he then turned around to see,” Riley said.
Yesterday, Riley turned down a request for a meeting with Botha.
He issued another statement instead, and reiterated that Botha’s name not be divulged.
"South Africans across the spectrum are sick and tired of ‘racial allegations’ being attached to incidents where a person of colour is the victim.”
Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said a court date would be set once they received forensic results.
"We are also wanting the man who arrived at the scene first and alerted the ambulance to come forward. We really need to speak to this man as well.”