Watch: Dashcam footage emerges as death toll in Pongola truck crash rises to 21

Sibusiso Siyaya, the truck driver charged with murder after 20 people died when his truck collided with a bakkie in Pongola in 2022 made his first appearance in the High Court in Pongola on Monday.

The 28-year-old appeared in court for a pre-trial conference, according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Siyaya is facing 20 counts of murder.

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

On 16 September 2022, a total of 18 children died and two adults died when the bakkie they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck driven by Siyaya.

“The trial will be held in the High Court sitting at the Pongola Magistrate’s Court.

Read | Sibusiso Siyaya languishes in prison as court denies him bail

“Siyaya will remain in custody, following his unsuccessful bail application last year, where the State was able to prove that he is a flight risk who might abscond if released on bail.”

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.

The youngest victim in the accident was five-years-old.