Johannesburg - A Mozambican truck driver who caused a horrific crash that resulted in the deaths of 18 people in Machadodorp, Mpumalanga, has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment, five of which are suspended for four years.
This, in effect, means that Sebastian Macaucau will serve three years behind bars.
The Middleburg regional court sentenced Macaucau after a lengthy trial in which the state called upon the expert testimonies of two crash investigators from the Road Traffic Management Corporation.
The defence called on a mechanical engineer to give evidence in defence of the accused.
The accident occurred in July 2017 when the truck driven by Macaucau collided head-on with two minibus taxis on the R541 just outside Machadodorp.
The collision happened when the driver of the truck crossed the centreline and crashed with the two minibus vehicles travelling in the opposite direction. Eighteen people were killed, and 10 were seriously injured.
Macaucau, who sustained no injuries, was arrested on the scene and subsequently charged with culpable homicide.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation has issued a statement expressing its belief that a harsher sentence should have been imposed.
The statement read in part: “The RTMC would have liked to see a much harsher sentence considering the number of people who died and were injured in the crash. It, however, welcomes the fact that the negligent driver would be spending time behind bars for failing to adhere to the rules of the road.”
In another incident of reckless driving, a driver was arrested after being caught on camera driving recklessly and almost causing a collision.
The video, which went viral on social media, shows a truck weaving its way through traffic at high speed and driving dangerously towards oncoming traffic.
Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusi Shongwe, said although the incident occurred on the KwaZulu-Natal’s R34 road, the truck has a Mpumalanga registration.
Shongwe called for the driver’s licence to be withdrawn.
He said: “Such behaviour should be condemned in the strongest possible terms, and such drivers should no longer be allowed on the road as they endanger other people’s lives. People like the driver in question do not deserve to have driving licenses. Crashes that involve trucks often produce many fatalities, especially when public transport is involved”.