Secret settlement for crash into mall

2014-10-03 00:00

A SECRET settlement was reached this week in Absa Bank’s claim against various parties for damages caused when a runaway truck veered off the N3 and crashed into Liberty Midlands Mall in 2012. Lawyers said the terms of the agreement were “private and confidential”.

The case arose from a horror accident on the night of January 23, 2012, when a 12-ton Mercedes truck careered off the N3 and hurtled through the mall parking area, mowing down fencing and striking parked cars, before smashing into Absa Bank at the main entrance.

Pietermaritzburg welfare worker Alice Joggessar (69) was killed while getting into a car after dining at the mall.

Absa sued truck owners Magimax Manufacturing CC, their insurers, Zurich Insurance Company SA Ltd, and Green Willow Repair Centre CC (hired to perform maintenance on vehicles by Magimax). But all of them denied responsibility for the R646 466 damages to the bank. In papers Magimax Manufacturing alleged brake failure had placed its truck driver in a situation of “sudden emergency” so he couldn’t avoid a collision.

Absa alleged the accident was the result of negligence on the part of Magimax Manufacturers for failing to properly maintain its truck, or the truck driver, or both.

A number of witnesses testified during the civil trial that began before Judge Nompumelelo Radebe in April this year. They included a brakes expert, Laurence Merchant, as well as the truck driver, Thabiso Motseko.

In his evidence Motseko claimed to have had a “smooth journey” until he’d passed the arrestor beds on Town Hill. After the Peter Brown off-ramp he saw a warning red light appear on the dashboard, indicating “no air pressure on the brakes”. He tried to apply brakes and his handbrake, but both failed. Motseko described having to change lanes to avoid crashing into other trucks. Then realising there were construction works ahead he branched off onto an off-ramp. Unable to stop, he drove over a traffic circle and smashed into the mall. The truck was carrying ironing boards. The court heard the truck had to stop for repairs to a clutch pedal in Ladysmith.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.