Jail terms shock taxi drivers
MASERU — Over 20 Maseru taxi drivers were slapped with effective jail sentences of between 14 and 30 days this week for flouting traffic regulations — punishment which left them in a state of shock as they were not given options to pay fines to avoid incarceration.
The drivers appeared before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court on Monday charged with contravening provisions of the Road Traffic Act of 1981.
All the accused drivers pleaded guilty to their respective charges and in mitigation, asked for lenient sentences saying they were sole breadwinners in their families.
Some of the drivers blamed their passengers for asking to be dropped at undesignated areas thereby committing the said crimes, while others said they were not aware that their actions would lead to incarceration.
When outlining reasons for the sentences, Magistrate Dlamini Matla said most of the drivers were repeat-offenders hence a custodial sentence would deter them from committing similar crimes in future.
“Most of you have appeared before this court in the past on similar charges and cautioned not to commit the same crime again,” said Mr Matla.
You were given sentences with options to pay fines in the past but it is clear that this was not enough and did not mean anything to you hence you continued to commit the same crimes.
“Hopefully, a custodial sentence will send a strong message to you and even those who would want to commit similar offences, that the courts are very serious about curbing these kinds of crimes as they put the lives of other drivers and pedestrians in danger.”
— Lena/staff Reporter