Pretoria - A senior City of Tshwane official spent the early hours of Christmas behind bars after being arrested in connection with driving under the influence.
The Pretoria News can confirm that council spokesman Selby Bokaba was pulled over and arrested by Tshwane metro police officers at the Atterbury Road off-ramp on the N1 at about 2am on Christmas Day.
Speaking to the Pretoria News on Thursday, Bokaba confirmed his arrest but said tests would show his blood alcohol levels were not over the legal limit.
“I told the officer I had a glass of wine. He was very aggressive and confrontational and wanted me to take a breathalyser test, but I refused. I had a drink, but I was not over the limit. There is no law stating you cannot drive after one drink,” Bokaba said.
He said he was handcuffed by the “aggressive” officer and taken to Steve Biko Academic Hospital for his blood to be drawn, with police sirens blaring. He said the officer did not stop at any red traffic lights on the way to the hospital or police station.
“Blood tests were conducted at the hospital and we will await the results. I did not break any law,” Bokaba said. He was later taken to the Brooklyn police station where he spent hours before being released at 7am on Christmas Day. He received a warning to appear in court next year.
Provincial police spokesman Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng confirmed the arrest of a senior council official, but declined to provide a name on record until the person appeared in court.
Regarding the arresting officer’s alleged conduct, metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba urged Bokaba to lay a complaint. “Once a complaint is laid, it will be investigated further to establish the truth,” Mahamba said.
Mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said the City of Tshwane “regrets the reported incident”.
“We appreciate his (Bokaba’s) co-operation with the metro police and await the outcome of his blood tests.
“We are also of the belief that he remains a responsible and law-abiding citizen.”
Manale congratulated the metro police for their overall service and dedication over the festive season.
“We call upon all road users to drive carefully, rest when tired, and obey the rules of the road and arrive alive,” Manale said.
Bokaba said: “While I acknowledge the unlawful arrest, I am confident that I will be vindicated at the end of the legal process. As a citizen, I request people not to drink over the limit and then to drive.”
Other prominent people whose drink-related arrests have made headlines include ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu, former Ekurhuleni chief of police Robert McBride and top ANC official Tony Yengeni.
In 2010, Mthembu was arrested for drunken driving on the N2 in Cape Town at 7am.
In 2011, McBride was convicted of drunken driving and attempting to obstruct justice, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. He was acquitted on appeal in April.
This year, Yengeni, a member of the ANC national executive committee, was arrested for drunken driving in Cape Town. He reportedly spent the night in police cells. He was later released on R500 bail.
In 2007, Yengeni was arrested for the same reason in Goodwood in Cape Town.
Also in 2007, Pretoria High Court Judge Nkola Motata was arrested for drunken driving after he drove into a wall in Joburg.
It is alleged police had to call in help after Motata refused to co-operate.
In December 2008, Major-General Mondli Zuma allegedly ignored police officers’ calls to pull over and he was later arrested at a house.
A breathalyser test indicated Zuma’s blood alcohol level was 3.5 times over the legal limit.