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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Acting Judge to Defend Truck Driver in Horrific Pongola Crash

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In a surprising turn of events, Acting Judge Pregasen Marimuthu has announced that he will be representing 28-year-old truck driver Sibusiso Siyaya, who is facing 20 murder charges in connection with a devastating crash that occurred in Pongola in 2022.

The trial is scheduled to commence on April 15, with Marimuthu stepping in to defend Siyaya in court.

This development came to light during the pre-trial conference at the Durban High Court on Thursday.

The matter was subsequently deferred to Friday for deliberation in Chambers by Judge Jacqueline Henriques.

Marimuthu, who also serves as a Legal Aid high court unit manager, informed the court of his decision to represent Siyaya.

He indicated that a representative had visited Siyaya at Ncome prison to consult with him and would provide a comprehensive update on the case.

Siyaya faces charges of reckless and negligent driving, as well as failing to perform the duties of a driver after an accident.

According to the indictment, Siyaya was employed as a heavy motor vehicle driver by Perry Masinga on behalf of BaoBao Projects, a company involved in coal transportation from Mpumalanga to the Richards Bay coal terminal in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The prosecution alleges that on September 16, 2022, Siyaya was transporting 34 tons of coal from Mpumalanga to KZN using an Oaf mechanical horse and two side tipper trailers.

During the journey, he reportedly encountered a mechanical issue with his rear trailer brake in Piet Retief.

Despite this, he proceeded towards Richards Bay via the ltshelejuba Pass.

The indictment further claims that Siyaya ignored a mandatory stop for heavy motor vehicles before descending the pass, where he was supposed to engage a low gear.

While driving down the pass, he allegedly drove recklessly, overtaking multiple vehicles across the double barrier center median and onto the oncoming lane.

Tragically, Siyaya’s vehicle collided head-on with a Toyota light delivery vehicle (LDV) carrying 18 pupils, a driver, and a teacher.

All 20 occupants of the LDV, including children and the teacher, sustained fatal injuries in the collision.

The victims included children from various households, adding to the gravity of the tragedy.

Siyaya, who initially refrained from applying for bail following his arrest, later made an unsuccessful bail application a year later.

He has remained in custody since his arrest.

The trial is set to take place in the Pongola Magistrate’s Court, where Senior State Prosecutor advocate Krishen Shah will represent the State.

All eyes will be on Acting Judge Marimuthu as he takes on the defense of Sibusiso Siyaya in this heart-wrenching legal battle that has left a community grieving and seeking justice for the lives lost in the Pongola crash.

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