Pinetown crash-truck owner: I'm sorry'

2013-09-17 07:49

The owner of an articulated truck, that killed 23 people in Pinetown after its brakes failed earlier in September, said he fears for his life stating that he is "deeply sorry for the pain and loss" caused.

PINETOWN, Kwa-Zulu Natal - The owner of an articulated truck that killed 23 people in Pinetown after its brakes failed earlier in September 2013, appealed for calm and to allow investigations to be completed on September 16.

Gregory Govender issued a statement and held a press conference in Durban as his driver Sanele Goodness May appeared in the Pinetown Regional Court.

Video: Pinetown horror crash

May, a 23-year old Swaziland national, faces 23 counts of murder and one count of reckless driving.


Govender: "I am deeply sorry for the pain and loss that this tragedy has brought into so many innocent lives. These may seem like just words, but from the moment I heard about this, my life, like those affected has been thrown into turmoil, I have not been able to sleep nor function productively as I am haunted by the images described in the media."

In his statement read out to the press, Govender said he feared for his life and that of his family.

He was advised not to go to the scene of the incident on September 6 as he could be attacked by angry members of the public.

He confirmed that the truck's licence had indeed expired on August 31 2013, stating that: "However, we have always renewed our licences within the 21-day period.

"In the 12 years that I have operated my business, we have not once received a fine for operating an unlicensed vehicle because it is simply not our practice."

It was revealed during a visit to the crash scene by then acting president Jeff Radebe and transport MEC Willies Mchunu that the vehicle's licence had expired.


Govender said he would co-operate fully with any investigation and had cancelled a previously arranged trip to India.

Govender said: "I was supposed to have left on Sunday (Sept 15), and this should give you an indication of the degree of my commitment."

On September 8 2013, a meeting with investigators occurred and documentation and information had been provided to them.

He said media reports that categorised him as an "an indifferent business owner who lives in the lap of luxury, oblivious to the plight and lifestyle of a young driver, like Sanele" were not true.

Govender said: "I have been in the logistics industry for 15 years; I started as a driver also at the age of 23.

"I progressed to becoming an owner driver and then started my operation with one truck. It has taken great sacrifice, hard work and tears to build a business that I am proud of."

He said people saw what he had achieved without realising how hard he had worked.

Govender said: "I am also a brother, father, grandfather and breadwinner. I too feel the pain of those mourning, daily replaying the image of my truck ploughing through that intersection. I too want all the answers."

Govender said he was confident that the truth surrounding the accident would prevail once investigations were completed.

Should the truck owner be punished for the crash? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...


  • Kwashirai Chigodora - 2013-09-17 08:58

    Investigate... the truck's condition will reveal all. If it was mostly in good condition it may just be no more than a painful accident. If it shows short cuts were made in its maintenance then it would need to be established whether its company policy or a mechanic's fault. Then eventually whether the driver was careless. no use baying for blood and blaming blindly. May the one truly at fault atone for his mistakes with grace.

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