Several trucks from death truck firm faulty

2013-09-24 00:00

SEVERAL trucks belonging to the Sagekal Logistics, owners of the truck involved in the recent Pinetown accident, have been found to have a string of mechanical defects, including failed brakes — both hand and foot — and oil leaks, says provincial Transport Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane.

This follows an inspection by traffic inspectors and a team from the provincial Transport Department at the company’s Durban premises in Phoenix on the weekend.

In response, spokesperson for Sagekal Logistics, Lisa Sukdev, has criticised the raid, calling it “the single most despicable and manipulative act of victimisation, orchestrated and implemented through the abuse of power”.

Speaking to The Witness, an angry Sukdev said the raid would be challenged in court. “It may have been overly optimistic to have expected that this matter was going to be handled in a transparent, objective and fair manner,” she added.

Asked what assistance company owner Gregory Govender has provided to victims and families of the 23 people killed in the accident, Sukdev said Govender will be making a monthly contribution to the families of the deceased for a period of six months, but declined to say from when or how much. “This is not in any way to be construed as him accepting liability in any form for the accident. He has always been a generous giver and despite his depleted financial position, he has voluntarily committed to this,” added Sukdev.

Pressed for details of the amount, Sukdev replied with an angry outburst: “It doesn’t make any difference how much he is giving. The amount does not matter.”

The latest development comes as public sympathy for the driver of the truck in the accident, 23-year-old Swazi national Sanele May, continues to swell, with supporters turning to social networks to express their views.

There have also been calls for Govender to be held accountable for his part in the accident, amid allegations that the truck’s brakes were reportedly faulty prior to the accident, with some calling Govender “cowardly” for failing to accept blame.

The anger at Govender also follows Govender’s initial appointment of a lawyer for May, the costs of which he said would be borne by his company. A few days later, Govender dramatically announced that the lawyer would no longer be representing May, but himself as the truck owner.

May is in police custody pending his bail hearing next month, while Govender appointed an independent forensic collision expert, Stan Bezuidenhout to investigate the crash. The expert’s provisional investigation indicates that May, and not Govender, was to blame for the accident.

Bezuidenhout has stressed however that his findings of the accident being caused by human error, are only preliminary as some facts were still outstanding.

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing May, Professor Lindokuhle Mdletshe, has told The Witness that May still remained “devastated and emotional” over the accident, and was receiving counselling while awaiting his bail hearing.

Mdletshe said Govender had not contacted Sanele or made any effort to speak to his client about the accident.

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