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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Truck Driver in Tragic Pongola Crash Found Guilty on 20 Counts of Murder

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Sibusiso Siyaya, the truck driver involved in a horrific collision with a bakkie carrying school children, has been convicted on 20 counts of murder by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

The tragic incident, which occurred in Pongola in September 2022, claimed the lives of all occupants of the bakkie, including two adults and 18 children aged between five and 12 years old.

In addition to the murder charges, Siyaya was also found guilty of reckless and negligent driving, as well as failure to fulfill the duties of a driver following an accident.

Read | Pongola crash report blames error and reckless driving on truck driver

The sentencing proceedings were adjourned until today (Wednesday).

Siyaya, who was previously denied bail due to being deemed a flight risk by the Pongola Magistrate’s Court, surrendered himself to authorities after reportedly attempting to flee the accident scene.

During court proceedings in January, Siyaya opposed media coverage of his case, expressing concerns for his safety and potential reprisals from the community.

Watch | Dashcam Footage of the Horrific Pongola Crash that Killed 20

Preliminary investigations suggest that human error and failure to adhere to road regulations were contributing factors to the tragic collision.

This verdict comes amidst heightened concerns over road safety following another recent incident where a traffic officer lost his life while on duty near Komatipoort along the N4 toll road.

According to Busisiwe Shiba, the acting MEC for community safety, security, and liaison in Mpumalanga, the officer was struck by a truck he was attempting to halt during routine duties.

Shiba emphasized the need for thorough investigations into such incidents to ensure that those responsible are held fully accountable for their actions.

“As we seek justice for these tragedies, it is imperative that we uncover the root causes of such accidents to prevent similar occurrences in the future,” Shiba stated.

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