A lorry driver who damaged a historic bridge near George in the Western Cape and failed to report it has been given a suspended six-month prison sentence – provided he pays R20 000 to the Department of Transport and Public Works for the damage what he did.
Asisipho Maqwazima (22) pleaded guilty to the charge against him and the money has already been paid to the department.
Maqwazima collided with a corner pillar of the Silver River bridge on the Sewe Passe road in March last year. The road runs between George and Knysna and has been declared a national monument along with the bridges.
According to Zinzi Hani, spokesperson for the Hawks, the collision caused the corner pillar to break off and it tumbled into the river. However, Maqwazima did not report the incident and it was only after a complaint from the Falcons’ office for wildlife smuggling and cultural heritage to their counterparts in organized crime, that the owner of the truck was located.
Hani says the owner admitted that one of his drivers caused the damage to the bridge. A warrant for Maqwazima to appear in court was subsequently issued.
The overall damage to the bridge amounts to around R50 000.
George Herald report since this incident, several other trucks have also been stuck on the old bridge while transporting loads. The newspaper reports that some make it from as far as Gauteng or the West Coast, just to get stuck on this bridge day or night. However, the road is not designed to handle heavy vehicles.
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