Monday, August 31, 2009

Rea Vaya, taxis vanish and Ninja Boy in court.

Helluva hectic day!
So today was the first day our Rea Vaya bus service was up and running. And with magical effect almost all the taxis disappeared off the road - which is a major bummer for the many poor souls who rely on them, but quite heavenly for those of us who have cars and dream of taxi-free roads.
We had teams out in force - journalists riding buses, others supposed to do the journey by taxi stranded on the roadside along with commuters, roving teams checking out the action and another perched in the inner city CCTV camera surveillance room. The stories that came in were not spectacular, so I got assigned to jump in my car and do the out-on-Market-Street and back-in-along-Commissioner loop to check out if all was as smooth and perfect as the traffic cops were saying.
So I did. Managed the trip across the city and back in 15 minutes - which was brilliant. Plus I checked a whole lot of cars using the bus lanes illegally and crossing over intersections in heart-stopping manoevres. Check out this bit of evidence captured by me - a car willfully using the dedicate bus lane. As seen through my windscreen, captured by my phone!!!

After that I got sent to the Joburg High Court to cover the pre-sentencing hearing of Morne Harmse, the Kurgersdorp schoolboy who killed a fellow pupil and injured three other people when he ran amock through the school one Monday morning, hacking away with his ninja sword.
It was a loooong day. First we had the social worker annoy the prosecutor by describing Morne as a young boy of "about 18". Advocate Gerrie Roberts got seriously annoyed and told her: "You have his birth date in front of you. He is 19-years-and-seven-months old actually - quite far from 18."
She painted him as a lonely dreamer who lived in a fantasy world and wished he could do martial arts. Roberts described him as a borderline psycho who with apparent unfulfilled wishes for karate classes had indeed managed to get his folks to buy him a PlayStation and spring for books on palmistry and tarot cards. He referred to one of those insightful psychological reports that uses terms like "anti-social" and "prone to aggression" as the observations of a trained expert. I reckon I could write one just as accurately - I mean the kid killed a boy and hacked three other people with a sword, of course he is anti-social and aggressive!!
Then the boy who got chopped across his head testified about his reaction when Morne first slashed him across the leg, prompting him to yell out "Are you fucked up?"
The groundsmen who managed to disarm the deranged boy spoke about how they still feel extreme fear working at the school.
The murdered boy's mom cried her eyes out as she said she couldn't possibly forgive the young killer for taking so much from her by murdering her 16-year-old-son Jacques.
She keeps the clothes he wore when he died in a case in her bedroom cupboard. So he can be near her all the time. And she writes him letters everyday and puts them on his grave. Looking after his ring-necked dove Birdie is her way of continuing to show him love. She remains incapable of dealing with the death...
So very sad.


  1. It is a tragic case and I wonder how close a lot of teens get to a similar fate. There are two victims here - the murderer and the murdered.

  2. Actually even more. Their entire families are completely and utterly shattered!

  3. It is heartbreaking indeed. For all the families.
    As for the twit in the wrong lane- I am now using several times a day!