Boksburg explosion: Tanker driver arrested, charged with multiple counts of culpable homicide

Damage caused after an oil tanker exploded in Boksburg. Photo: Screengrab

Damage caused after an oil tanker exploded in Boksburg. Photo: Screengrab

Published Dec 26, 2022


Pretoria - The driver of the tanker that exploded in Boksburg in Saturday has been arrested and charged with 15 counts of culpable homicide.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili said the 32-year-old was arrested on Saturday evening at a private hospital where he was receiving medical treatment for minor injuries.

This as the death toll to the horror explosion climbed to 15 on Christmas day.

Three hospital staff members and children were among 15 people who died during an explosion in Boksburg on Saturday.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla and Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko visited the OR Tambo Memorial Hospital on Sunday to inspect the damage done by the blast.

“Sadly, three of the injured staff members have passed on. A driver and two enrolled nurses were severely burnt,” said Phaahla.

He said 37 people – 24 patients and 13 staff members – who were in the hospital’s accident and emergency department at the time of the explosion sustained severe burns.

Speaking during a media briefing at the scene, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said six firefighters were injured while trying to put out the flames.

Lesufi said a truck from the fire department, the gas truck, two cars and two houses were destroyed in the explosion, while other houses suffered damage.

“We wish we could explain what happened, but it’s extremely difficult because we have to rely on those assigned in pulling out the facts,” Lesufi said.

He said he was told one family had lost four members.

“It’s a sad day for our province and for our country, and we want to express our sincere condolences to the affected family.”

Lesufi also confirmed that the driver of the truck survived and has been hospitalised.

“The truck was from Richards Bay en route to Botswana, and we don’t understand who it managed to go through this area.”

Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela said the police were going to interview the driver and get more information before they make any allegations.

“A negligent and reckless driving case will be opened against the driver so that we can establish whether the driver was at fault. For now we cannot say whether he was negligent or not... On the damaged property, we need to open a case of malicious damage to property so that we can establish who is responsible, whether it was intentional, and so forth,” Mawela said.

Ekurhuleni mayor Tania Campbell said the authorities will evaluate how to provide temporary shelter for the displaced.