Taxi driver found guilty of 12 counts of culpable homicide

2013-07-23 16:38

Taxi driver Khululeka Gwala was found guilty of 12 counts of culpable homicide by the Pietermaritzburg High Court after a 2011 accident.

Judge Piet Bezuidenhout acquitted him on murder charges and three counts of attempted murder related to the injuries of two men and a youth.

The crash took place in September 2011 on a steep road near the entrance to Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.

Witnesses testified that Gwala crossed double barrier lines and went on to the oncoming lane.

They testified that he was speeding to overtake vehicles, and raced around a bend, which restricted vision of the road to about 60 metres.

One witness estimated he drove at over 100km/h in an 80km zone.

The taxi was licensed to seat 14 passengers.

Gwala pleaded not guilty and alleged the brakes failed, but an accident investigator found there was adequate brake fluid in the braking system, which would have slowed down if he had applied the brakes in time.

Gwala was found to have side-swiped a passenger car. His taxi slewed to the right and hit a truck. The truck pushed the taxi down an embankment, and landed on top of it.

Bezuidenhout said that Gwala was not a good witness, at times giving contradictory, confusing and evasive evidence.

Bezuidenhout ordered that Gwala be detained until sentencing on Thursday.

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