Wave of support for driver in Fields Hill crash

2015-06-01 09:14
Sanele May in Durban High Court awaiting his sentence.

Sanele May in Durban High Court awaiting his sentence. (Matthew Middleton)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - The convicted driver of the truck that ended the lives of 24 people on Fields Hill nearly two years ago has maintained a massive support group.

Swazi-national Sanele May, who is serving a 10-year jail term at the Umzinto Correctional Services facility, has since the outset of the accident, been supported by a large, mainly female, middle-class upper highway support group. They supply him with everything from clothes, tuck, phonecards and regular visits.

The reason they support him is mixed, but largely has to with the belief that May, responsible for the province’s largest single death toll in one accident, is a victim of poor enforcement and neglected safety standards of trucks in South African roads.

Founder of the Sanele May Support Group, Peach Piche, said what has set May’s story apart was that he “accepted responsibility”, he was “remorseful” and they believe he wasn’t solely responsible.

“This has never been one dimensional. The impact on the community has been massive. The accident was the largest of its kind in KZN and Sanele is paying his price. But now we need greater pressure on the trucking industry to comply with the law,” said Piche.

In September 2012, the truck hurtled down Fields Hill after its brakes failed. May took the first off-ramp towards Richmond Road, Pinetown. It is here his truck went through the intersection, smashing into two cars and four minibus taxis killing 22 people immediately. Another two people later died in hospital.

He was sentenced to eight years and 10 months in prison. He had already spent 12 months in custody.

He pleaded guilty to 31 charges in the Durban High Court in November 2014 including culpable homicide, fraud, entering South Africa illegally, possession of fake driver’s licence and one charge of failing to comply with a road traffic sign.

He was 23 years old at the time.

“There are three levels he has to deal with; he is an orphan, he is in a foreign jail and he lives with the trauma every day,” said Piche, a mother of two.

She said without the support of more than 30 people his “journey would be a lot harder”.

“He maintains he wants to leave prison a better man than what he came in. He wants to become an advocate for better road safety.”

Piche, a successful businesswoman in her own right, said running the organisation, which was started out of impulse, became all consuming.
“For six months I went to visit him in jail every day. I got involved because I saw a need. We can’t help everyone but we can make a difference for one person.”

Read more on:    sanele may  |  durban  |  pinetown crash

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.

24.com 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

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
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 24.com 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.