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Truck owner in Field’s Hill tragedy escapes jail term, fined R25 000

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The owner of the truck that skipped red traffic light and ploughed into a number of vehicles at Fields Hill in Pinetown, killing 22 people instantly, has pleaded guilty to four charges.

Two other people died in hospital following the crash.

The charges include contravening the National Road Traffic Act relating to the roadworthiness of the truck, and that relating to failing to conduct safety checks to the motor vehicle – such that this guarantees public safety.

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The fourth charge is that of contravening the Immigration Act – having employed the truck driver, Sanele May, being illegally in the country.

Director of Public Prosecution in KwaZulu-Natal says the owner of Sagekal Logistics, Gregory Govender entered into a plea agreement and will have to pay a combined R25 000 fine or face up to 12 months imprisoned.

“For counts 1 and 2 (taken as one for the purpose of sentencing), the accused was sentenced to a fine of R10 000 or twelve months imprisonment. He was further sentenced to a fine of R10 000 or twelve months imprisonment for count 3 and a fine of R5 000 or six months imprisonment for count 4,” the NPA said in a statement.

Sanele May was sentenced to eight years and 10 months in jail. In 2014, he pleaded guilty to 31 charges – including 24 counts of culpable homicide, two charges of possessing a fraudulent driver’s licence and failing to adhere to a road traffic sign.

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May, who pleaded guilty to the charges against him currently serving his 10-year sentence at Umzinto Prison.

Truck owner in Field's Hill tragedy escapes jail term, fined R25 000
Sanele May serving his term in Umzinto Correctional Services Centre. (Click photo for update on driver)

According to the NPA, the charges against Sagakel Logistics were withdrawn as the company is currently subject to liquidation proceedings and is insolvent.

The KZN Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Moipone Noko in a statement said: “We welcome the sentence and hope it serves as a warning to transport operators to ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy. Truck accidents contribute significantly to the carnage on our roads”.

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