Death crash bakkie driver pleads guilty

Durban - A man accused of killing five children when his bakkie plunged into a sludge dam pleaded guilty in the Greytown Regional Court on Wednesday to five counts of culpable homicide.

National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said Phelelani James Mchunu, 25, told the court he was transporting 28 children in his uncle's bakkie in Rietvlei on May 12 when the brakes failed.

Divers remove a body from a sludge dam on a Mooiriver farm after a bakkie plowed into it, killing five children. File picture: Marilyn Bernard. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

He lost control of the vehicle, which plunged into the sludge dam. Five children were killed.

In his plea, he acknowledged he had been negligent and failed to check the bakkie was in good working order.

Ramkisson said the court was handed a statement from Mchunu's uncle, who claimed he had warned Mchunu the brakes were faulty.

“In the statement he mentions that the accused had told him that the brakes on the vehicle were not in a good condition. He told the accused that he should not use the vehicle until the brakes were fixed. He further advised that when he saw Mchunu driving the vehicle he asked him if the brakes were fixed and Mchunu said that they were,” said Ramkisson.

The case was postponed to September 23.