‘I feel betrayed’ says Pinetown truck owner
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September 16 – The owner of the truck involved in the deadly Pinetown accident earlier this month, says the driver is to blame. Gregory Govender, who heads Sagekal Logistics, has spoken out for the first time since the crash. He claims his investigation eNCA
The owner of the truck that obliterated two cars and four fully laden minibus taxis at a busy intersection in Pinetown, broke his silence over the condition of his truck prior to the carnage that claimed 23 lives.
Gregory Govender, in a sworn affidavit which was read out by Lisa Sukdev on Monday, said his truck had returned from a full service before the crash that left the nation speechless. He denied that the vehicle’s brakes had failed. He chose not to attend Monday’s media briefing, saying that he and his family have received threats over the loss of life.
He quashed allegations made by driver Sanele Goodness May that the brakes of the truck had failed and he was left to steer the vehicle down the treacherous stretch of the M13 without any idea as to how to stop the truck.
“I feel betrayed and taken advantage of.”
“It must be noted that Fields Hill has a mandatory stop for truck drivers, position at the top of the hill after a steep ascent, where a driver would already be at a reduced speed. Nowhere in any of the reported accounts by May, is it claimed that he engaged in a low gear while descending on the M13. It is accepted in the industry that all truck drivers must engage in a low gear on Fields Hill, as the brakes alone cannot bring the vehicle to a complete stop if this is not done.”
Govender further alleged that May’s official work documents were fraudulent and that his South African traffic register certificate belonged to an asylum seeker from Swaziland.
In several media reports, May allegedly said he was instructed to bypass the last toll road before entering Durban to prevent being pulled over by road traffic inspectors for having an expired truck licence. He also said he attempted to alert people to the problems the truck was facing by rolling down his window and shouting to pedestrians and drivers to get out of the way. Govender refuted this account and pointed the public to the footage which shows the truck’s window rolled up.
Govender said while the registration papers of the truck had expired on August 31, he was still within his 21-day grace period to renew the licence. He said his company, Sagekal Logistics, had a clean slate with the Department of Transport. “In the 12 years that I have operated my business, we have not once received a fine for operating an unlicensed vehicle, because it is not our practice.”
He said forensic experts would prove that after the crash, the truck was found in fifth gear and not in a low gear as ordered by the rules of the road.
May faces 23 counts of murder for the deaths that occurred on that date.
Video footage of the accident shows May hurtling at great speed through the intersection where he ploughed into the taxis and cars. It was unclear whether two pedestrians, who were seen crossing the road seconds before May sped through, survived the incident.
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