The South Africa’s transport minister, Dipuo Peters wants to make drink driving as serious an offence as murder and rape after more than 1,700 people died in drink driving incidents over the December holiday period. The figures are up 5% from the previous year.
The announcement comes just a week after the release on parole of the hip-hop musician and rapper Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye. He had been serving an eight-year sentence for culpable homicide or manslaughter after killing four pupils who were walking from school while he was drag racing with a friend in Soweto back in 2010.
Visibly agitated, Dipuo Peters said:
“We are seeking to reclassify drunken driving from schedule three which is less severe, to a more severe schedule five offence to ensure that those who negligently cause crashes on the road do not get bail easily and spend time behind bars.”
Ms Peters said that consultations with the Justice Department were underway to finalise and introduce minimum sentences for negligent and reckless driving.
Some 5,943 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, which accounted for 65% of all traffic violations arrests.
“We cannot have people dying like this. Emergency services and traffic chiefs are traumatised by what they see on the roads.”