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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Pongola horror crash: Truck driver denied bail

The accident killed 18 school pupils, aged between five and 12, and two adults with preliminary indications pointing to human error


The truck driver behind the N2 Pongola crash, which claimed the lives of 20 people in northern KwaZulu-Natal in September last year, has been denied bail.

Sibusiso Siyaya appeared in the Pongola Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for his formal bail application

Siyaya is facing 20 counts of culpable homicide after the truck that he was driving ploughed into a bakkie transporting in September last year.

Crash

The bakkie was transporting mostly school children on the N2 highway between Pongola and Itshelejuba.

The accident killed 18 school pupils, aged between five and 12, and two adults.

Preliminary indications pointed to human error and failure to adhere to the rules of the road as the cause of the accident.

The 28-year-old handed himself over to police on Saturday, after allegedly fleeing from the accident scene.

ALSO READ: Pongola horror crash: Case against truck driver postponed for bail hearing

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Flight risk

The court found that the state had proven its case that Siyaya was a flight risk who might abscond if released on bail, the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Natasha Kara said.

“The court found that it was not in the interest of justice to grant him bail and bail was thus refused. The matter was adjourned to 17 February for DPP decision and further investigations.”

During his last court appearance, Siyaya opposed the media’s application to film or photograph the proceedings of his case, saying he feared for his safety and retaliation from the community.

While the accused’s rights should be respected, they should be balanced with those of the general public, the state argued.

Boksburg explosion

Meanwhile, the death toll in the Boksburg explosion has risen to 41.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi confirmed the increase in the number of deaths on Wednesday.

A gas tanker exploded under a low-lying railway bridge in the Plantation suburb of Boksburg on Christmas Eve, leaving scores of people with critical injuries.

The blast also destroyed parts of the Tambo Memorial Hospital and damaged infrastructure.

Additional reporting By Thapelo Lekabe

ALSO READ: Five people dead in Roodepoort mass collision

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