‘Fair’ sent ence f or May
Truck driver in Field’s Hill accident pleads guilty
SWAZI national Sanele Goodness May, whose truck ploughed int o six vehicles at a busy Durban intersection, killing 24 people last year, will spend the next eight years and 10 months in prison aft er he pleaded guilty to 31 charges in the Durban high c ourt y esterday.
However, with g ood beha viour he could be r eleased in six y ears.
The charges were read out to him in Zulu and through an interpreter he told Judge Kate Pillay: “I admit all the charges”
May pleaded guilt y t o 24 c ounts of culpable homicide, two charges of fraud, one charge of entering South Africa illegally, two charges of being in possession of f ake dri ver’s lic ences, one char ge of operating a vehicle without a valid professional driving permit, and one charge of failing to comply with a r oad traffic sign.
On the e vening of Sept ember 5 las t year, in rushhour tr affic, M ay’s truck smashed into four minibus taxis and two cars at an intersection at the bottom of Field’s Hill in Pinet own.
Twentytwo people died at the scene. Two died lat er in hospit al.
May has been in cus tody ever since. He w as pr eviously denied b ail b y the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court.
Initially, he w as char ged with 24 counts of murder, but this was changed to 24 culp able homicide char ges.
He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for each of the culp able homicide c onvictions, with fi ve y ears suspended. He was also sent enced to one year for violating the immigration laws and four years for each of the traffic and licence violations.
All the sent ences are to run c oncurrently and the 14 months May has been in cus tody were t aken int o ac count.
“The effective sentence is one of eight years and 10 months. With good behaviour that could be reduced by a third or more,” said Pilla y.
She said she belie ved M ay w as r emorseful and had “demonstrated c ontrition f or his actions” .
May’s eff orts to secure employment without a valid licence had “set a chain JOHANNESBURG — A South A frican man has appe ared in a L ondon c ourt for all egedly using c ats t o smuggl e heroin w orth R1 3 million int o the Unit - ed King dom, the Star r eported.
Scott P arker w as ac cused o f hiding the dr ugs in the bo ttoms o f thr ee c at Sanele Goodne ss Ma y (ins et) pl eaded g uilty in the Durb an high c ourt t o 2 4 culp able homicide char ges f or the crash wher e his tr uck pl oughed int o six v ehicles at a bus y Durb an int ersection (main pic ture). PHOTOS: APP of events in motion that were tragic” despite his “noble intentions” to support his y ounger br other in S waziland.
“The accused too did not emerge unscathed. He has had t o sit in j ail more than a y ear a waiting his f ate.”
Pillay said the court took notice of the fact that dri vers used the F ield’s Hill route t o a void p aying t oll f ees.
The accident highlighted the need for truck owners to verify the details and licences presented to them by prospective employees.
She ur ged tr affic authoritie s t o s tep up their policing on F ield’s Hill.
In his plea agr eement, read into the record b y his ad vocate Louis B arnard, May admitted he knew his driving permits were not legitimate and he had mis crates with the animals s till inside . The c ats w ere on a flight fr om O .R. Tambo Int ernational Airport t o He athrow Airport in L ondon.
Britain’s National Crime Ag ency said workers at the He athrow Animal R eception Centr e thought the cr ates represented to his employer Sagekal Logistics that the y were v alid.
It also emerged from the agr eement that May had failed an initial driving test with the c ompany t wo weeks prior t o his employment on September 2, 2013.
The fateful trip during which he lost control of his v ehicle down Field’s Hill was his fir st f or the c ompany.
He had taken a load up to Johannesburg and it was on his return trip to Durban that he los t c ontrol of the truck.
May kept his head down when press photographers tried to take pictures of him bef ore he ent ered the dock.
As he entered the dock a small group of people waved to him. Members of a Facebook gr oup ha ve been unf ailing supporters. were unusuall y he avy af ter the c ats were r emoved. Of ficers unc overed false bo ttoms in the cr ates and f ound the hidden her oin.
Parker w as arr ested and had been charged with importing a cl ass A dr ug into the c ountry.
As he left the dock aft er being sentenced a woman shouted from the public gallery: “We lo ve y ou S anele”.
Ntombi Duma, a teacher, who was in one of the taxis that May’s lorry ploughed into, said she belie ved the sent ence was fair, but they wanted the owners of the v ehicle t o be held ac countable f or their r ole in the ac cident.
“… Is he [the truck o wner] a person who takes responsibility? Because if he does, he would have shown his responsibility b y at leas t sho wing himself or sending a not e t o us [ victims].”
She and only one other person in the taxi they were in had survived the crash.
She suffered spinal, neck and head injuries and los t her hearing in one ear .
— S apa.
Parker, fr om Benoni, had dual South African and British nationalit y.
He appe ared in the Uxbridg e Magis - trate’s Court , wher e he w as no t r equired t o ent er a pl ea. It w as unknown when he appe ared in c ourt or when he w as arr ested. — Sap a.