Drunk drivers will face the full might of the law and could land up behind bars, acting transport minister Dikobe Benedict Martins has warned ahead of New Year celebrations.
“We are warning you: Your days are numbered and it won’t be long before your misbehaviour catches up with you,” he said.
Data captured over the festive season indicated many people were being arrested for drinking and driving.
“This has to be one of the highest forms of irresponsible behaviour by motorists,” said the minister.
Western Cape traffic services spokesman Jacques Mostert said that 99 drunk drivers were arrested in “blitz” operations during the festive season in the province.
In the crackdown, over the past four weekends, 13 907 drivers were stopped at roadblocks.
Of these, 5340 were screened for alcohol.
Gauteng traffic police spokeswoman Busaphi Nxumalo said 87 drunk drivers were arrested in the province at the weekend.
They would be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol when they appeared in various courts on Monday, she said.
Martins urged pedestrians not to drink and jaywalk, and said pedestrians made up about 40 percent of road deaths countrywide.
He said a court recently found that alcohol was a contributing factor in an accident in which five runners died when they were hit by a Midrand driver, who later sentenced to 12 years in prison for culpable homicide.
“The convicted driver, who was said to be a successful engineer, now faces a lengthy period behind bars away from his family and friends, a criminal record and living with the knowledge of having caused five deaths.”
BEATEN TO DEATH
Meanwhile in Kwazulu-Natal, a Phoenix man was beaten to death by a mob after he allegedly crashed into a car.
Police said Lutchman Govender had failed to pull up the handbrake of his car when he stopped near his home. His vehicle rolled and crashed into another car.
The 48-year-old father was confronted by a mob as he ran towards his car.
An eyewitness said as soon as the group got to Govender, “all hell broke loose”.
“He didn’t even have a chance to utter a word. They beat him and when he fell down, they kicked him and swore at him about their car.”
He died just metres from his home.
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said the five suspects had been arrested on murder charges.
In Mpumalanga, seven people were killed when a bus and car collided on the N2 outside Ermelo on Sunday.
ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said: “It is believed that one vehicle overtook another vehicle around a bend on the N2 and collided head-on.”
Six of the dead had been in the bus. The seventh was the car driver.
Thirty-six passengers in the bus and five in the car were treated for injuries.
“Both vehicles were severely mangled and some of the occupants had to be freed by using the Jaws-of-Life.”
Paramedics worked at the scene for more than three hours. - Cape Argus