The parents of Sonali Sewbran, 22, have been left heartbroken, after the man allegedly responsible for their daughter’s death and the death of their first unborn grandchild received a slap on the wrist fine at the Umgababa Magistrate’s Court recently, they told South Coast Herald.
Devashen Naidoo, 24, from Sea Park chose to pay a R20 000 fine, rather than spend two years in prison. The court also suspended his licence for a year.
On the fateful night of January 8 last year Sonali and Naidoo had been on the N2 near Umgababa, having left the Sewbrans’ home in Reservoir Hills, Durban, for Mr Naidoo’s home in Sea Park. Sonali was nine months pregnant and her mother, Shireen, had pleaded with her not to leave as she was too close to having the baby.
Their bakkie had crashed into the back of a truck and Sonali was pronounced dead at the scene.
The state charged Naidoo and, earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to culpable homicide as well as to charges of reckless and negligent driving.
When the court suspended his licence for a year, Naidoo pleaded to be allowed to continue to drive, but the court refused.
“Unfortunately, we have to accept the court’s decision and let it be. We are extremely disappointed with the verdict and we need to try and move on,” said Mr Sewbran. “Obviously, there are a lot of emotions that we are feeling. Were my daughter’s life and that of my unborn grandchild worth only R20 000? We are heartbroken but that’s the decision and unfortunately we have to accept it.”
Sewbran said that Naidoo had not personally spoken to them about the accident but had spoken to a daily newspaper, saying that he was really sorry for what he did.
“He has never made contact with the family or passed his condolences to us.”
Both parents described Sonali as caring, helpful, compassionate and, most of all, thrilled to become a mother.
Last month, Sewbran testified that his daughter had been in an abusive relationship. “She had an abusive and rocky relationship. A month before she was due she moved back home. To our understanding, she told him if he wasn’t responsible she would leave him.”