Duane, Mandie and Burry Stander share a euphoric moment.
In an exclusive two-part interview, an emotional Mandie Stander speaks to eHowzit sports and deputy editor Quintin van Jaarsveld after the taxi driver responsible for her son and national cycling ace Burry’s death was convicted of culpable homicide on Friday.
The latest chapter in the Burry Stander accident trial saga – Magistrate Charmaine Barnard handing down her judgement on taxi driver Njabulo Nyawose in the Port Shepstone Magistrate’s Court on Friday – was the most stressful and emotionally taxing yet for the Stander family.
The late South African mountain biking icon’s mother Mandie and brother Duane attended the hearing, which came over two years after Burry’s death when he was struck by Nyawose’s Quantum minibus taxi during a training ride just outside of the family’s cycling store in Shelly Beach on 3 January 2013.
Magistrate Charmaine Barnard found Nyawose guilty of culpable homicide and failing to adhere to road signs and set sentencing for 27 May.
It was another traumatic court visit for both members of the Stander family, one Mandie said had only the slimmest of silver linings.
“Every time I stepped into Court C at the Port Shepstone regional court rooms, I was sad and upset and Friday was no different,” a heart-broken Mandie said.
“Nothing is ever going to bring my Angel child back, but I feel at peace knowing that Burry did nothing wrong to play a part in his tragic death.”
The defence had disputed the veracity of the information gleaned from the Garmin device that was attached to Burry’s bike.
Defence attorney Xolile Ntsulana had argued the findings of forensic expert Craig Parker-Procter – that Stander had not exceeded the maximum speed of 45 kilometres per hour – and had claimed the main cause of the accident was the speed at which the two-time Olympian was travelling.
“The speed Burry was travelling at when the accident happened was 23 kilometres per hour,” said Mandie.
“The CCTV footage showed he was already sitting up like anyone slowing down on a road bike would.
“I’m positive he was planning to go and have a chat with his dad at the shop before going home.”
In addition to what she felt was vindication for Burry, Mandie said she hoped the guilty verdict would result in road users “being more considerate on the roads” and the realisation that their actions have consequences.
Recounting her thoughts and the overwhelming emotions she experienced during Barnard’s judgement, Mandie said: “As the magistrate explained her version of what happened on the third of January 2013, I realised with sadness, yet again, that that was Burry’s last day on earth and that we didn’t have time to say goodbye.
“Every time I watch a cycling event on television it hurts because I know I will never be able to watch Burry compete like he used to.
“He will never walk into my house and check what is in the fridge to eat. He will never hug me like he used to.
“But he is my Angel child, whom I will see again.”
She praised Barnard’s professionalism, saying, “Magistrate Charmaine Barnard took a lot of time explaining each topic of this trial and we want to thank her for that.
“I feel she was very fair with all her conclusions.”