Epileptic who killed 6 hawkers in dock next year

Alfred Moselakgomo

A Mpumalanga epileptic man who faces six counts of culpable homicide after allegedly driving over street hawkers had his case postponed to January 22.

Magistrate Edgar Moletsane of Schoemansdal magistrate's court yesterday postponed the case against Lifa Mkhabela, 34, a former paramedic at Shongwe Hospital, because his lawyer was not present.

The accident, in which six hawkers died, happened when Mkhabela lost control of his vehicle during an alleged epileptic attack in July.

His licence was withdrawn by the provincial traffic department after the accident.

Epilepsy is a general term used for a group of disorders that cause disturbances in electrical signaling in the brain, according to ehealthMD.

ehealthMD is hosted by Health Information Publications (HIP), a company specialising in creating health information.

"Like an office building or a computer, the brain is a highly complex electrical system, powered by roughly 80 pulses of energy per second.

"These pulses move back and forth between nerve cells to produce thoughts, feelings, and memories," reads ehealthMD.

"An epileptic seizure occurs when these energy pulses come much more rapidly - as many as 500 per second for a short time due to an electrical abnormality in the brain.

"This brief electrical surge can happen in just a small area of the brain, or it can affect the whole brain," the publication states.

Mkhabela was arrested on the same day of the accident and released on a warning, pending investigation.

The man's release angered the deceased's families.

They wanted to know why the man was released from police custody. In July, there was an outcry when Mkhabela was allegedly seen driving his mother's car.

Members of the community wondered how he was given back his driver's licence, calling the move "a license to kill."

The provincial transport department instituted a probe into how he was given back his license.

The outcome of the probe is yet to be announced.