Swazi-born truck driver Sanele Goodness May, who was at the wheel of a truck that killed 24 people in 2013, has been released from prison, his supporters said on Wednesday.
“It’s official – Sanele May has been released from prison! The day we have all been waiting for has arrived. There are no words to describe the elation and he even admitted this morning that it feels like a dream,” Peach Piche, the main organisers for May’s supporters, said on Facebook.
Department of Justice spokesperson Chrispin Phiri also confirmed to News24 that May was placed on parole on December 27, 2019. Phiri added May was then “handed over to home affairs for deportation”.
May, who was serving his sentence at the Umzinto Correctional Services facility, was considered a tragic figure in the incident after he maintained the truck’s brakes had failed. Truck owner Gregory Govender was fined R2,000 for failing to maintain a roadworthy vehicle and R5 000 for hiring May who was not eligible to work in the country.
In September 2012, the truck hurtled down Fields Hill after its brakes failed. May took the first off-ramp towards Richmond Road in Pinetown. It was here that his truck went through an intersection, smashing into two cars and four minibus taxis, killing 22 people. Another two later died in hospital. He was sentenced to eight years and 10 months in prison.
He pleaded guilty to 31 charges in the High Court in Durban in November 2014, which included culpable homicide, fraud, entering South Africa illegally, possession of a fake driver’s licence and one charge of failing to comply with a road traffic sign.
He was 23 years old at the time.