47 drunk driv­ers go di­rectly to jail

A year on, min­is­ter lauds Cape’s ‘name and shame’ cam­paign

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - MURRAY WIL­LIAMS Staff Writer

AL­MOST 50 Cape driv­ers have been sen­tenced to jail in the past year af­ter al­co­hol-re­lated busts – and this has de­lighted national and provin­cial trans­port au­thor­i­ties.

National Trans­port Min­is­ter S’bu Nde­bele is so im­pressed by the Name and Shame cam­paign – a joint ini­tia­tive be­tween LeadSA and the prov­ince’s Safely Home aware­ness drive – that he said to­day that he would sup­port its roll­out else­where in the coun­try.

To­day the Cape Ar­gus pub­lishes the lat­est list of Western Cape driv­ers who have been sen­tenced in the prov­ince’s crim­i­nal courts for drink­ing and driv­ing.

Their names have been handed to the provin­cial trans­port depart­ment to be cap­tured on its eNatis data­base.

Oc­to­ber 1 marks one year since the launch of the award-win­ning Name and Shame cam­paign.

Since then 664 driv­ers have been sen­tenced in the prov­ince for drunken driv­ing of­fences, 47 of whom were sent di­rectly to jail with­out the op­tion of pay­ing fines or serv­ing an­other type of sen­tence.

One was jailed for four years, six for three years and the re­main­ing 40 for be­tween six months and two-and-a-half years.

A fur­ther 12 had their li­cences can­celled, which is dif­fer­ent to a sus­pen­sion and means they may not reap­ply for a decade.

Many of the 664 were con­cen- trated in what ap­pear to be clam­p­down hot spots, such as Oudt­shoorn where 66 driv­ers were bust, Swellen­dam (35) and Worces­ter and Mos­sel Bay (30 each).

In greater Cape Town, Kuils River, At­lantis, Cape Town cen­tral, Delft, Eer­ste River, Bel­har and Mitchells Plain were hot spots, with more than 10 con­vic­tions in each.

Western Cape Trans­port MEC Robin Carlisle said to­day that while the 47 jail sen­tences were grat­i­fy­ing, “we would like to see a much higher per­cent­age of con­victed drunken driv­ers be­hind bars”.

“Drunken driv­ers are re­spon­si­ble for most of the deaths on our roads, and the more sav­age the sen­tences, the sooner this scourge will be brought un­der con­trol.

“Nev­er­the­less, in jail­ing some of the drunken driv­ers, the courts are send­ing out a pow­er­ful mes­sage that will save hundreds of lives,” Carlisle said. “As a re­sult, we are mak­ing steady progress to­wards our tar­get of re­duc­ing the death toll on roads by half by 2014.”

Nde­bele said to­day that he fully sup­ported the cam­paign’s roll-out across South Africa, and wel­comed the jail­ing of the 47 driv­ers.

He also noted that it had been a year since the an­nounce­ment of the National Rolling En­force­ment Plan (NREP) on Septem­ber 10 last year.

Since then, just shy of 13 mil­lion ve­hi­cles and driv­ers had been stopped and checked and 18 527 drunken driv­ers had been ar­rested on the coun­try’s roads.

More than five mil­lion fines had been is­sued for var­i­ous traf­fic of­fences and 50 272 un­road­wor­thy ve­hi­cles, most of them buses and taxis, had been taken off the road.

The peo­ple on this and all other lists fea­tured in the Cape Ar­gus since Oc­to­ber last year were con­victed in con­nec­tion with two crimes:

Driv­ing over the limit: the driv­ers were tested and found to be over the le­gal limit for blood al­co­hol, breath al­co­hol, or both.

Driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence: the driv­ers were con­victed based on records show­ing them to be driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of in­tox­i­cat­ing liquor or drugs – through, for ex­am­ple, wit­ness tes­ti­mony or pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence.

The list does not say when the crimes were com­mit­ted. Not all mag­is­trate’s courts file their records si­mul­ta­ne­ously, and the

names of con­victed driv­ers are recorded on the eNatis sys­tem as they ar­rive at the trans­port depart­ment.

At the time of go­ing to press it was not pos­si­ble to as­cer­tain how many, if any, of the 664 driv­ers had been con­victed solely on the ba­sis of ev­i­dence from Dräger breathal­yser ma­chines.

The trans­port depart­ment said to­day that only a hand­ful of peo­ple had been pros­e­cuted and con­victed based purely on re­sults from Dräger tests.

These peo­ple now had the op­tion of chal­leng­ing their con­vic­tion based on the court’s judg­ment.

The Dräger sys­tem was re­cently chal­lenged and tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended in the Western Cape High Court.

The court sus­pended the use of Dräger ma­chines un­til re­fine­ments have been made to the de­vices.

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