Truck driver in horror Pongola crash jailed

The horror Pongola crash in September 2022 resulted in the death of 20 people. Picture: Twitter

The horror Pongola crash in September 2022 resulted in the death of 20 people. Picture: Twitter

Published May 16, 2024


Almost a year and a half after a deadly crash claimed the lives of 18 school children and two adults, the truck driver responsible has been jailed.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal confirmed the 20-year jail term handed down to Sibusiso Siyaya in the KZN High Court, sitting in Pongola on Thursday.

The long distance truck driver was found guilty on 20 counts of murder earlier this week.

In addition to murder, he was found guilty of reckless and negligent driving as well as failure to perform duties of a driver after an accident.

The horror crash that shook the community of Pongola took place on September 16, 2022.

School children had been travelling on the back of the bakkie when the light delivery van and truck collided.

Siyaya was alleged to have fled the scene of the crime and was arrested a day later.

He was initially charged for culpable homicide, but the charges later changed to murder.

According to the State 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.

“On 16 September 2022, he (Siyaya) collected a load of coal in Mpumalanga and made his way towards the coal terminal in Richards Bay.

“Enroute, Siyaya drove recklessly and often overtook several vehicles over the double barrier centre median and onto the oncoming lane, causing oncoming vehicles to take evasive action to avoid a collision with his vehicle,” said NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara

She said whilst driving on the on-coming lane, Siyaya collided with a motor vehicle carrying 20 passengers.

All 20 passengers died, the youngest victim being five-years-old.

The NPA said during the trial State Advocate Advocate Krishen Shah led the evidence of 12 witnesses, relying on the testimonies of three expert witnesses.

The State also presented on board CCTV video clips and GPS evidence, encompassing both technical and mechanical evidence.

Ramkisson-Kara said victim impact statement presented to the court told the story of one mother having lost all her children on that day.

“The family members spoke of unresolved pain and deep emotional scars.”

Explaining the sentences, Ramkisson-Kara since the court found that the murder counts occurred in one single act, Siyaya was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for the murders, three years imprisonment for reckless and negligent driving, and six years imprisonment for failure to perform the duties of a driver after an accident.

“The court ordered that the sentences for reckless and negligent driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver run concurrently, resulting in the effective sentence of 20 years imprisonment.”

The NPA said Siyaya’s driver’s license had been cancelled.

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