Cape Town - A high-ranking police officer was arrested in connection with drunk-driving after he crashed into another vehicle on Saturday night.
Brigadier Moses Memela, cluster commander of the Brackenfell, Kraaifontein and Durbanville police stations, was arrested after colliding with another car in Khayelitsha.
Without naming the suspect, police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk confirmed the incident on Sunday and said it had happened at 7.30pm on Saturday on the N2 turn-off between Mew Way and Spine Road in the direction of Cape Town.
Referring to the incident, deputy metro police chief Yolandi Faro said a metro police officer had been taking the details of the drivers involved in the collision when he noticed that the driver of the Mercedes Benz sedan (Memela) was not stable on his feet.
She said the officer had enquired from the driver if he had consumed any alcohol and he admitted to having only “a few glasses”.
The officer also noticed that the other motorist could have been under the influence of alcohol.
Faro said the officer had taken both drivers for an alcohol test at the Shadow testing centre in Athlone and arrested both on drunk-driving charges. She confirmed that one of the drivers was a high-ranking senior police official.
Van Wyk said Khayelitsha police had released both drivers with a warning on Sunday morning and said they were due to appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer said on Sunday: “The law must take its course. We will do an internal investigation into what happened.”
He said Memela was expected at work after his court appearance on Monday.
The city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the arrests showed that the metro police’s “no fear, no favours” approach was showing results.
Smith said: “Whether it’s one of our own staff members or a DA electoral candidate or an ANC national spokesperson, it doesn’t matter who it is, we will arrest them.
“You will not be treated differently,” said Smith.
Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle said: “The police are supposed to set the example.
“For a policeman to be driving drunk is totally unacceptable. I will personally follow up on the matter to make sure that proper procedures are followed.”
Other high-profile cases
July 2012: Idols winner Karin Kortje was arrested for drunk driving on Van Riebeeck Road in front of the Kuils River police station.
June 2011: Two DA councillors, Sammy Goedeman and Joseph January, and ANC councillor Hector Yabo were arrested in separate incidents and all three were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
December 2010: Musician Arno Carstens was arrested in Cape Town for drunk driving before being released on R500 bail. Carstens appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on a charge of drunken driving this year.
August 2010: Ard Matthews, lead singer of rock band Just Jinger, was arrested for drunk driving after causing an accident on Buitengracht Street in Cape Town. He is now a supporter of the “No Regret Friday” campaign, which encourages people not to drink and drive.
March 2010: ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu was arrested for drunk driving on the N2 near the Pinelands off-ramp for driving in the bus lane.