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Durban - A blurred memory, a river of tears and anxiety.
That is the lot of Sanele May, the Swazi driver of the runaway truck that ploughed into a car and four taxis, killing 24 people in a horrific accident on Field’s Hill, Pinetown, on September 5.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Tribune at the Westville Prison, May, 23, speaking for the first time about the accident, said all he remembered about the fatal crash was hitting a small car. The rest, he said, was a blur.
He was told by a police officer that the truck had hit four taxis as well. He said it was a big shock. “I’ve cried too many tears,” he said. “I’m leaving it to God now.”
May, wearing a crisp black shirt and golden brown slacks, sits in a room with sparse furniture, a plastic chair and a school desk with a long bench. He is a tall man with of sturdy build, but that changes with the droop of his shoulders and his averted gaze.
“I’ve done what I can, but it’s not in my control,” he says in response to questions about the horror accident and how he is coping.
He’s anxious about Tuesday, when he’ll find out whether he has been granted bail or not. He wrings his hands constantly.
He is uneasy, making eye contact infrequently, but says he knows he has to face the situation, and must find out if he has been granted bail.
“I am not going to run away. If I wanted to run away I could have run away when I was in the truck. The police took a while to come to me, and when they arrived they asked me who the driver was, and I told them it was me.
“They told me to get out and sit on the ground.”
Swaziland would be a great place to await trial, but May said he was willing to comply with whatever bail terms there were.
According to his statement read in court on Wednesday, May maintains that he did not know that his public driving permit was fraudulent, and said he worked through an agent to facilitate everything.
“I just wanted to get work,” said May of his reason for coming into the country illegally.
He never knew he would find himself facing murder charges in a country that was not his own. So many people from Swaziland do the same thing – come into South Africa through the border to try make some sort of future.
But the church boy is holding on to his faith and the support he has received from the group formed to help him. The promise blanket that he received, with Bible verses embroidered on it, along with the message “God bless you, we love you Sanele” in Swati, from the Sanele May support group, was a perfect gift, he said. Their letters of encouragement were overwhelming and gave him strength.