Sakhiseni Nxumalo
Senior journalist
3 minute read
8 Jun 2022
06:34

Trucker admits causing fatal crash near Pietermaritzburg ‘in a state of exhaustion’

Sakhiseni Nxumalo

A truck driver, Yandiswa Majikija, has pleaded guilty after Tony Richter, director of school operations at Hilton College and his daughter Alice, were killed in a crash on the N3 in February 2021.

A truck driver, Yandiswa Majikija, has pleaded guilty after Tony Richter, director of school operations at Hilton College and his daughter Alice, were killed in a crash on the N3 in February 2021.

Majikija appeared at the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on Tuesday.

The 59-year-old Richter, had stopped on the N3 southbound, near Midmar Dam, to help his daughter, Alice, whose car had broken down.

Richter had parked his bakkie behind his daughter’s vehicle, which was in the slow lane. They were standing between the two vehicles when the truck hit the bakkie propelling it forward into the pair.

Richter died instantly and Alice, who was a yoga teacher, was badly injured. She was rushed to Life Hilton Hospital by paramedics and later underwent surgery, but died the following day.

Majikija was arrested and was charged with two culpable homicide charges. In the plea document, he pleaded guilty to both charges.

Majikija had his head facing down during the proceedings, rubbing his hands together. He said that on that night, he was driving a truck on the N3 coming from Middelburg in Mpumalanga, heading to Durban.

He said that while busy driving, he happened to lose concentration.

“I was exhausted since I had been driving for the whole day and as a result I lost concentration, consequently thereby causing the motor vehicle I was driving to move to the left and cross over the yellow painted line, where I collided into two stationary motor vehicles and two drivers, who were standing in between the two stationary cars,” said Majikija.

He said he noticed before the collision that there were two cars that were stationary on the yellow line.

Majikija said their hazard lights were flashing and two people, Richter and Alice, were standing in between those vehicles.

He said he tried to avoid colliding with them, but unfortunately, it was too late. “As a result, the left front of the truck struck the right rear of one vehicle pushing the vehicle forward.

“In the process of moving forward, the motor vehicle collided into both drivers who were pushed into the rear bumper of the vehicle that was in front of them.

“Consequently, both drivers were flung forward to the left, down the embankment due to the impact,” he said.

“After that collision, I managed to control my truck and eventually it stopped, and I remained at the scene until I was arrested,” he said.

“I admit because of the collision both deceased passed away. I was aware that driving in a yellow lane is not allowed and dangerous. I admit my conduct was unlawful and negligent, and I wish to state that I was aware that continuing to drive while I was exhausted at that time would lead to a motor vehicle accident.

“I have no valid defence in law to justify my wrongful conduct.

“I am truly remorseful for my wrongful actions and beg the court’s mercy when imposing a sentence,” said Majikija.

The matter was postponed to July 18 when Majikija, who is not in custody, will be sentenced.

Richter’s brother, Dave and other family members were also present in court.

Richter served 21 years at Hilton College as life sciences head of department, the housemaster of Ellis and Lucas houses, and coach of the rugby and cricket first teams.

The incident shocked the Pietermaritzburg community at large with the Hilton College community stating that they were saddened by his death.

He was described as a great servant of rugby development in the province, with an infectious enthusiasm for the game that caught the imagination of many young people.

Alice Richter.
Alice Richter.