Will the Boksburg Tanker driver extinguish the flames of the law?
The outcome
The explosion


Will the Boksburg Tanker driver extinguish the flames of the law?

By Nicolene Hendricks

South Africa was up in arms over the sudden release of a 32 year old driver implicated in the Boksburg Explosion on 24 December 2022, which left at least 41 people dead as of 18 January 2023, the fuel tanker carried liquefied petroleum gas. He was charged with reckless driving, negligence, multiple counts of culpable homicide and malicious damage to property. But due to insufficient amount of evidence, those charges were dropped the same day he appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate’s court.

Firstly we need to look at the circumstances regarding the driver’s release. According to Deputy provincial police commissioner for Gauteng, General Mbuso Khumalo, the driver was arrested without any formal investigation being conducted. And the law clearly states that in South Africa, an investigation into any crime be conducted, before any arrest can be made. So the driver was then arrested on suspicion. Police did not follow due process. Richard Durrant, Director of Transheq, experienced auditor in independent road transport and safety system and also lead auditor for SQAS-AFRICA (Safety Quality Assessment for
Sustainability, reviewed Infinite Fleets’ compliance ( the driver’s employer) according to the National Road Traffic Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and SQAS-AFRICA. He was reported saying that the company followed all requirements by law and practise. This most certainly does not mean that the driver or company is cleared of criminal charges. But what that entails is an entirely different aspect when looking at the circumstances as a whole. General Khumalo stated that an investigation into the driver’s intent should be looked at.

Legal Expert Jonathan White from Thompson Wilks Inc.(Sandton) explains this. According to White when looking at whether someone is criminally liable, the intent has to be determined. He further explains that there are two types of intent, regarding the driver. Direct intent, meaning the person intended on carrying out the crime. And then there is Negligence. It simply means failure to comply with the standard of care that would be exercised in circumstances by a reasonable person. Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi stated on 18 January 2023 that police had opened another case against the driver, saying that the police were ready to take the matter back to court. According to Lesufi, the docket had been transferred to the Senior State prosecutor for consideration.

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