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Twenty-three year sentence for murder and negligent driving handed down to the driver responsible for the 2022 Pongolo fatal truck crash

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport has hugely welcomed the sentencing to twenty-three years handed down against the truck driver who was responsible for the death of 20 people in Pongola.

Yesterday (Thursday, 16 May 2024), Sibusiso Siyaya (30-years-old) was sentenced by the Pongolo Magistrate Court for counts of reckless and negligent driving and twenty (20) murder cases.

Siyaya was found guilty on all counts by the same court yesterday with all evidence placing the responsibility on him for the horrific accident, which claimed the lives of nineteen learners and one assistant teacher in September 2022.

The court sentenced Siyaya to three years imprisonment for reckless and negligent driving, six years for failing to report an accident and to assist victims of the accident, fourteen years for the murder of twenty people, and his driver’s licence was revoked. 

Count one and count two will run concurrently. This means he will effectively serve twenty years imprisonment.  On the 16th of September 2022, an accident occurred in the Godlwayo area when a runaway truck collided head-on with a bakkie that was ferrying mostly learners from various nearby schools. Upon impact, Siyaya fled the scene and later handed himself over to the police.

The case has been going on since 2022 with various witnesses and evidence including forensic experts’ reports brought before the court.

Commenting in the wake of this judgement, the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka said this judgement will go down in history as the most important ruling and deterrent to irresponsible drivers on the road. 

“As government we welcome this historic judgement. The fact that Siyaya was sentenced for, amongst others murder, proves the seriousness that the criminal justice system is attaching to road traffic offenders. We hope that this judgement will serve as a harsh lesson to other reckless drivers on the roads. We also believe that through this judgement that the victims’ families will find closure knowing that the person responsible for the calamity that robbed them of their loved ones has been sent to jail."

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