KZN bakkie driver jailed for 5 years

2014-09-24 10:56


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Johannesburg - A man who pleaded guilty to five counts of culpable homicide, after five children were killed when his bakkie plunged into a sludge dam, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on Tuesday, the NPA said.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said that Phelelani James Mchunu, 25, was sentenced in the Greytown Regional Court to five years direct imprisonment, rather than correctional supervision.

"While the defence maintained that a wholly suspended sentence with correctional supervision was proper, regional court prosecutor Premie Naidoo argued that the accused knew a full three weeks before the incident that the brakes on the vehicle were not functioning.

"She also mentioned that Mr Mchunu had, in fact, disconnected the brake line and placed a bolt in it to prevent the brake fluid from leaking."

In his guilty plea on 27 August, Mchunu acknowledged he had been negligent and failed to check the bakkie was in good working order.

Naidoo argued that Mchunu acted negligently as he had reconciled himself to the fact that there were no brakes in the bakkie, in which he was transporting schoolchildren.

On 12 May, Mchunu lost control of his bakkie, carrying 29 school children, on the D532 road in the Rietvlei area, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

The bakkie plunged into a farm sludge dam and 24 children managed get out of the dam alive.

Read more on:    durban  |  accidents

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