Field's Hill 'killer truck driver' released from prison

Supporters console truck driver Sanele May in the Pinetown magistrate's court at his first court appearance in 2013. May is wearing a hand-stitched blanket made by a support group member.
Supporters console truck driver Sanele May in the Pinetown magistrate's court at his first court appearance in 2013. May is wearing a hand-stitched blanket made by a support group member.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

Sanele Goodness May, the man behind the wheel of the 40-ton, 18-wheeler which killed 24 people on Field's Hill, Pinetown, in 2013, has been released from prison.

The founder of the Sanele May support group on Facebook, Peace Piche, posted on Wednesday morning that May had been released from Umzinto Prison.

“It's official - Sanele May has been released from prison. The day we have all been waiting for has arrived. There are no words to describe the elation and he even admitted this morning that it feels like a dream,” she told more than 13,000 members of the support group.

May was sentenced to eight years in prison.

On Wednesday, Piche thanked those who had religiously supported him.

Since he was jailed, May had been visited every weekend by a “stranger” who had supported him since the truck he was driving ploughed into four taxis and two cars.

“A huge shout out to every single one of you that has been part of the journey and stuck by his side with visits, finances, messages, prayers and support from the sidelines. What a journey it has been but would not have been possible without all of you,” Piche wrote on Facebook.

She did not say what May's plans were after his release.

When May first appeared in court in 2013, shortly after the crash, strangers from as far as Johannesburg packed the courtroom and were moved to tears at the first sight of the then 23-year-old man.

Within days the online group grew to more than 10,000 members from 18 countries. Piche told TimesLIVE in 2018 that the group was still active because they were committed to justice for May.

“The group is made up of wonderful human beings who have remained committed and loyal to both Sanele and the injustice, especially that the owner of the truck got a slap on the wrist with a fine,” she said.

In 2017, Gregory Govender, the owner of Sagekal Logistics, was fined R2,000 for failing to maintain a roadworthy vehicle, and R5,000 for hiring May, who was not eligible to work in the country.

Throughout his trial, May maintained that the truck’s brakes failed before it hit the vehicles.

However, he begged forgiveness from the victims' families, despite them not blaming him for the crash.

Thembisa Nompula, who lost her 22-year-old sister in the crash, wants May “to just be happy”.

“I want him to just live his life and be happy,” Nompula told TimesLIVE on Wednesday.

Nompula and her sister Nombifuthi usually travelled together, but on September 5 2013, Nompulo finished work early.

Nombifuthi Nompula was killed in the crash.
Nombifuthi Nompula was killed in the crash.
Image: supplied

“I would have been with my sister in that taxi. [She] was a bubbly, beautiful person, who had so much potential. She was doing environmental studies.

“We have learnt to adjust to living without her. We still miss her every day and we are doing much better. My mother had to be treated for depression but she is better now,” Nompula said.

Nompula said she “felt nothing” about May's release.

“I don’t know how I am supposed to feel. I am not angry. I am not sad. We forgave him a long time ago.

“He didn’t plan the accident. No one plans to go out and crash a truck,” she said.

Nompula did not visit May in prison. 

“I forgave him but I didn't see the need to visit him in prison. We all deal with our healing differently.”


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