Pinetown crash victims unidentified

FILE PICTURE: The remains of a taxi involved in the Pinetown collision on 5 September 2013. Picture ER24

FILE PICTURE: The remains of a taxi involved in the Pinetown collision on 5 September 2013. Picture ER24

Four bodies from a crash that claimed the lives of 24 people in Pinetown almost three months ago are still in a Durban state mortuary unclaimed and unidentified.

Prosecutor Sibongiseni Mtetwa asked the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for a postponement in the case against Sanele Goodness May, to allow police to identify the four victims and trace their relatives.

May faces 24 murder charges after his truck ploughed into four minibus taxis and two cars at an intersection at the bottom of Field’s Hill on the M13 in Pinetown on September 5.

Twenty-two people were killed on the scene and two later died of their injuries. May was initially charged with culpable homicide but this was subsequently upgraded to murder.

Mtetwa told magistrate Chris Annamalai that 13 post mortem reports were still outstanding.

“Some have been taken to state mortuaries. There are challenges in getting those reports,” he said. “There are people in Gale Street mortuary that still need to be identified.”

May’s case was held via a video link from Durban’s Westville Prison.

Mtetwa said the State was still awaiting three of the four expert reports being compiled about the lorry’s braking system.

May’s lawyer Professor Mdletshe told the court he intended bringing a new bail application based on fresh facts. He did not elaborate what these facts were and when questioned outside court on what would be the basis of the new application he declined to comment. He could not say when the application would be made.

May was denied bail on October 22 after the State argued it had a strong case and May, who was allegedly in the country illegally, was a flight risk. May is a Swazi national.

May’s counsel argued at the time that May should not be facing murder charges but culpable homicide charges.

In granting the postponement Annamalai urged the State to complete investigations by the time May next appeared in court on February 25.

Unlike previous court appearances, the court was not packed to capacity and there were fewer supporters for May.



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