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Horror Pongola Crash Truck Driver Charged With Murder

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The driver of the deadly Pongola crash that claimed the lives of 20 people will face murder charges when his trial resumes in January.

Sibusiso Siyaya, 28, was initially charged with culpable homicide, but according to the State indictment served on him at his last court appearance, the charges were changed to murder.

Siyaya appeared in the Pongola Magistrate’s Court recently and the matter was transferred to the High Court for trial in January.

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On September 16, a total of 18 children died and two adults died when the bakkie they were travelling in crashed head-on into a truck.

Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu Natal, advocate Elaine Zungu said: “According to our prosecutorial decision-making process, we determine who to charge and on what charges.

“All the evidence is considered in its totality. There is no blanket rule to be applied.

“Therefore, after having considered all the evidence as contained in the docket and in-depth deliberations on the evidence, it had been decided that we will proceed on murder charges and not culpable homicide,” she said.

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In addition to murder, Siyaya faces a charge of reckless and negligent driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver after the accident.

According to the indictment, Siyaya was employed as a heavy motor vehicle driver for a company that transported coal from Mpumalanga to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in KwaZulu- Natal. It states that Siyaya often used the N2 route.

On September 16, 2022, the day of the accident, Siyaya collected a load of coal weighing approximately 34 tons in Mpumalanga and began the drive to the coal terminal in Richards Bay.

En route he experienced a mechanical problem with his rear trailer brake which he attended to in Piet Retief and thereafter proceeded on the N2 towards Richards Bay via the Itshelejuba Pass.

The State will argue that prior to descending the Itshelejuba Pass, Siyaya ignored a mandatory stop for heavy motor vehicles, where he was obliged to stop and engage a low gear, prior to continuing with his journey.

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The State further alleged that while driving down the pass, the accused drove recklessly, and overtook several vehicles over the double barrier centre median, and onto the oncoming lane.

It further states that Siyaya continued to accelerate and overtake more vehicles until the crash with the Toyota light delivery vehicle.

According to the post mortem, the deceased, with the youngest being 5-years-old, died from various injuries, including blunt head and chest trauma and head injuries.

Senior State Advocate Krishen Shah is expected to lead the testimonies of 42 witnesses.

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