‘Field’s Hill accident ruined me,’ says owner

2015-06-09 10:02
Truck owner Gregory Govender during an inspection of Sagekal Logistics truck yard in Phoenix, in September 2013.

Truck owner Gregory Govender during an inspection of Sagekal Logistics truck yard in Phoenix, in September 2013. (Ian Carbutt)

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Durban - The owner of the truck that killed 24 people on Field’s Hill says he has lost friends, his business and reputation.

And despite Gregory Govender having not been formally charged, he said the media coverage after the accident was something he “wouldn’t wish on his worst ­enemy”.

“There is nothing left. I had 15 trucks, almost all Volvo, running prior to the accident but now everything is gone. After the accident we didn’t get any work. We haven’t officially closed our doors but we have no workshop, no office and no vehicles,” said Govender.

The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that Govender’s matter was still “under investigation” and that a “decision is still to be taken by the office of the DPP”.

It is unclear just how strong the case is against Govender but last year the Mercury reported that the State was in possession of at least four expert reports that indicate that the truck was unroadworthy and had faulty brakes.

“This has been a long hard time. I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. It has taken its toll on me and my family and I could still face prosecution,” said Govender.

Shortly after the accident, Govender accused truck driver Sanele May of having deceived him by providing fraudulent documents when he applied for his job.

In September 2012, the truck May was driving lost control on Field’s Hill. May took the Richmond Road, Pinetown off-ramp and collided into two cars and four minibus taxis, killing 22 people immediately at the nearby intersection.

Another two people later died in hospital. He pleaded guilty to 31 charges, including culpable homicide and possession of a fake driver’s licence, in the Durban high court in November 2014.

Govender said his blue-chip clients “stopped using us” after the considerable press coverage the accident received.

“They just called and said they could no longer use us. There was no talk of entering into business again when this matter was cleared either. This was a family business, started by in-laws, and having run for about 15 years.”

He admitted to having not spoken to his former employee and convicted driver Sanele May or any of the victims, stating that this was on the advice of his lawyer and said he has lost “millions of rands”.

“Now I know who my friends are,” said Govender.

“I can’t explain what the media coverage did to us — it killed us. We are not the type of people who could get onto a stage and shout back. We had no platform to compete. We were on our own.”

Read more on:    sanele may  |  durban  |  pinetown crash

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