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Pinetown crash driver: No bail

2013-10-23 08:33

NO BAIL: Driver Sanele May, accused of killing 24 people in the Pinetown horror crash of September 5 2013, has been denied bail by a Pinetown magistrate. Image: YouTube

Giordano Stolley

Pinetown - The young driver accused of killing 24 people when his container truck crashed through a road junction in Pinetown, KZN, has been denied bail by a magistrate here.

Supporters of Sanele Goodness May cried and held each other when magistrate Wendolyn Robinson left the court. Robinson said May, 23 and Swazi citizen, was in the country illegally.


To grant him bail, the magistrate said, on condition that he stayed in South Africa meant "the court would be required to legalise his [residency] status while he was awaiting trial". Courts, she said, did not have such authority.

The prosecution had argued the previous week that it had a strong case against May and that he was a flight risk. It also argued that he should be kept in custody for his own safety.

Louis Barnard, for May, argued a that hearing that his client should not have been charged with murder but with culpable homicide and urged the court to release May into the care of an uncle who, along with the Swaziland High Commission, would assist in his return to South Africa for trial.


Handing down her decision on October 22, Robinson rejected Barnard's arguments. She said she could not speculate on what charges May would ultimately face. "That is not for this court to decid."

May is facing 24 murder charges. The truck he was driving crushed four minibus taxis and two cars at the bottom of Fields Hill on the M13 through Pinetown on September 5. Twenty-two people were killed, two injured died later. He was at first charged with culpable homicide but this was subsequently upgraded to murder.

Robinson said sending May back to Swaziland pending trial was also not possible as the court had no jurisdiction to impose bail conditions on him in that country.

There was "a clear indication that he moved between South Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland without going between border posts". Robinson said that, apart from a cousin, May had no family or assets that would keep him in the country. "He has nothing but a criminal charge hanging over his head," she added.

May remained in custody and was ordered to appear by video link in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court on November 27.

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