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Friday, June 14, 2024

Truck Driver Gets 20 Years in Jail for Fatal Pongola Crash

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Sibusiso Siyaya, a 30-year-old driver hailing from Kwazulu Natal, has been handed a hefty sentence of 20 years behind bars by the Kwazulu Natal High Court for the tragic accident in Pongola back in September 2022, that claimed the lives of 20 individuals.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that Siyaya, employed as a driver for a coal transportation company from Mpumalanga to Richards Bay, was convicted of multiple charges including murder, reckless and negligent driving, and failure to fulfill his duties as a driver post-accident.

The fatal incident occurred when Siyaya recklessly overtook numerous vehicles on a double barrier line, ultimately colliding head-on with a bakkie carrying school children.

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Among the victims, aged between five and 28, were predominantly school children.

The harrowing event was captured by the onboard camera of another vehicle, leaving a chilling record of the tragedy.

Dashcam footage of the horrific accident showed how Siyaya drove for 1,2km on the wrong side of the road before eventually colliding with the bakkie.

Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the regional spokesperson for the NPA, revealed that 12 witnesses, including three experts, testified during the trial.

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She emphasized the devastating impact on families, recounting heart-wrenching testimonies from mothers who lost multiple children in the accident.

Ramkisson-Kara clarified that the court deemed the murder counts as a single act, resulting in Siyaya being sentenced to 14 years for murder, three years for reckless and negligent driving, and six years for failing to fulfill his duties as a driver after the accident.

The court further stipulated that the sentences for reckless and negligent driving, and failure to fulfill duties, would run concurrently, culminating in an effective 20-year imprisonment.

In response to the verdict, Ramkisson-Kara expressed the NPA’s satisfaction, labelling it a precedent-setting case.

The ruling serves as a stern reminder of the grave consequences of irresponsible driving, particularly when innocent lives are at stake.

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