Judge postpones truck driver's sentencing

2014-06-23 20:59
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Mbombela - The sentencing of a Mpumalanga truck driver who collided with a goods train killing 24 people in July last year, was postponed on Monday.

George Mandlazi, 33, of Sibhejane village (formerly Block B) near Malalane, appeared in the Nelspruit circuit of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, a Sapa correspondent reported.

He was found guilty of 24 counts of culpable homicide and one of negligent driving on 13 November last year.

On Monday, the court heard that the probation officer was not available to give a pre-sentencing report.

The state asked for Judge Nomsa Khumalo to postpone the case to Tuesday, citing an agreement between the State and Mandlazi's lawyer Melanie Erasmus.

Last year, Mandlazi admitted that he drove negligently and unintentionally killed 24 farmworkers on 13 July 2012 after the truck he was driving collided with a goods train travelling from Emalahleni to Maputo, Mozambique.

The truck was ferrying 47 seasonal farmworkers between Malalane and Hectorspruit when the accident happened, killing 19 people on the scene.

Five others died on their way to hospitals while 23 more sustained injuries.

The State accepted his plea and withdrew the murder and attempted murder charges against Mandlazi, which led Justice Khumalo to find him guilty on 24 counts of culpable homicide and one of negligent driving.

Bail of R3 000 for Mandlazi, who is always in court with his mother, was extended.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mbombela  |  accidents
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