Sanele Goodness May, 23, from Swaziland, cried when he was brought into Court F at the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court.
The courtroom was packed with press photographers trying to take his picture.
May was arrested on Thursday on 22 counts of murder and one of reckless or negligent driving.
He was initially charged with culpable homicide, but National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson confirmed that the charges had been upgraded to murder.
The case was postponed until September 16. May remains in custody at the Pinetown police station holding cells.
Magistrate Wendolynn Robinson said this appearance would be brief, and that a formal bail application would take place on September 18.
The accident occurred when the articulated truck May was driving hit four fully-laden minibus taxis and a Volkswagen Golf on the corners of Field’s Hill (M13) and Richmond roads in Pinetown shortly before 7pm on Thursday.
Defence attorney Theasen Pillay confirmed that he had been appointed by Sagekal Logistics, the company which owned the truck, to represent May.