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Pongola ‘horror crash’ truck driver pleads not guilty to 20 counts of murder, as trial is set to enter day three

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The trial of the truck driver in the deadly Pongola crash that claimed the lives of 20 people has begun in the Pongola High Court.

Wednesday marks day three of the trial as State Advocate Krishen Shah leads the evidence of the third witness.

A total of 42 witnesses are expected to testify for the State and the trial has been set down down for the next weeks.

Sibusiso Siyaya, 28, was initially charged with culpable homicide, and then murder, and he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In addition to murder, he also faces a charge of reckless and negligent driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver after the accident.

Sibusiso Siyaya has been charged with 20 counts of culpable homicide. Picture: With permission/ Dasen Thathiah/eNCA

According to the 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.

He is being represented by Pregasen Marimuthu, from Legal Aid South Africa and an acting judge.

On September 16, 2022, a total of 18 children and two adults died when the bakkie they were travelling in crashed head-on into a truck.

The State is expected to argue that prior to descending the Itshelejuba Pass, Siyaya ignored a mandatory stop for heavy motor vehicles, where he was obliged to stop and change to a lower gear, prior to continuing with his journey.

The State further alleged that while driving down the pass, the accused drove recklessly, and overtook several vehicles over the double barrier centre median, and onto the oncoming lane.

According to the post mortem, the deceased, with the youngest being five-years-old, died from various injuries, including blunt head and chest trauma and head injuries.


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