The truck driver who allegedly caused the multiple vehicle crash that claimed the lives of nine people in Jozini in June has been denied bail in the Ubombo Magistrate’s Court.
Sipho Ntuli is due to return back to court on January 21.
The case has been moved to the Ingwavuma Regional Court, where a pre-trial conference will be held when the case resumes in the next year.
Ntuli was suspected of being drunk at the time of the accident. According to preliminary investigations, Ntuli lost control of his vehicle and crashed into five vehicles which included two buses, one mini-bus taxi, one bakkie and a Toyota Condor.
He is facing a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and nine counts of culpable homicide.
At least 30 people were injured in the accident.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Bheki Ntuli, has welcomed the court’s decision to remand Ntuli in custody.
“We applaud the Magistrate’s decision to deny bail for the accused as we believe that releasing the accused on bail would not have been in the interest of justice. The Court’s ruling will also send out a strong message to motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol in our province especially during the festive season and we believe such drivers should be harshly punished for their reckless behaviour,” he says.
He has also commended the Jozini Police Station investigators for working “tirelessly to build a water-tight case.”
MEC Ntuli says KwaZulu-Natal will be stepping up police visibility and law enforcement operations, as part of its festive season safety plan and provincial crime-fighting intervention programme titled Operation Vala, which will be launched by Premier Sihle Zikalala on Friday.
Below is an interview MEC Ntuli had with Maputaland FM soon after the loss of lives in Jozini.