The truck driver in the N2 Phongolo accident that claimed 21 people has been arrested. The driver handed himself over to the police today after a call by the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka.
Police had launched a manhunt after he fled the scene after the accident yesterday.
The driver is expected to appear in the Phongolo Magistrate Court on Monday. MEC Hlomuka is expected to attend the court proceedings.
“His arrest is important in assisting the families to deal with the devastation of losing their relatives. We commend the police who have had to activate all systems to make sure that the driver is pressured to surrender himself. We will be there to support the people of Phongolo and the families during his court appearance on Monday,” said Hlomuka.
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka, is calling on community members to assist the police in apprehending a truck driver who is believed to be responsible for killing 21 people in yesterday’s accident in Phongolo.
Police have indicated that they have since launched a manhunt after the truck driver ran away following this fatal accident, which happened in Godlwayo area on the N2. The truck collided head on with a Toyota Hilux bakkie that was ferrying learners from local schools.
In the footage of the accident that is circulating the truck is seen speeding excessively, overtaking on a double barrier line and clearly violating all possible traffic regulations.
The truck was travelling from Piet Retief to Phongolo and police have opened a case of culpable homicide and negligent driving.
The death toll in this gruesome accident has risen to 21, including 19 learners and two adults. The deceased includes the bakkie driver.
Commenting on the developments, MEC Hlomuka said the investigating team is working around the clock to have the truck driver arrested.
“He must just surrender himself to the police. It is a matter of hours before he is arrested to face the consequences of his actions. It is clear that the truck driver violated all the laws in the book.
This is the kind of behavior that is causing fatal crashes and it is unacceptable. The driver must face the music and we will be monitoring developments in this case. There is no excuse for such driver behavior. It is painful that the death toll has now increased to 21. Once again, we wish to send our deepest condolences to all affected families, other fellow learners, teachers and members of the School Governing Bodies,” said Hlomuka.
MEC Hlomuka also called for calm after one truck was torched by angry community members and other vehicles stoned on the N2 in Phongolo last night. The police and members of the South African Defense Force are currently monitoring the situation in the area.
Today a multi-disciplinary team of officials from various departments and local government is currently meeting with the families in Phongolo. MEC Hlomuka on the instruction of the Acting Premier, Ms. Nomagugu Simelane will lead government’s efforts and interventions in the area.
Horrifying dashcam footage shows truck driver overtaking on double barrier line and crashing into vehicle killing 21 occupants [ 19 primary school children] near Pongola in KZN https://t.co/FZLbNnRLKA #ArriveAlive @eNCA pic.twitter.com/InoLwpulXZ
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) September 17, 2022