A woman in her 30s was killed when the car she was travelling in crashed into a tree on the M1 Higginson highway near Havenside in Chatsworth, Durban on Sunday morning. Photo: Rescue Care
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal’s zero tolerance approach to lawbreakers on the road was not working. This was according to Justice Project South Africa’s Howard Dembovsky.

He said despite the hard stance taken by the province, there was still a high death toll during festive periods.

The approach had the opposite effect of making people more belligerent.

The low conviction rate was not making things any easier, Dembovsky said.

From research done by the organisation, he said there was a low conviction rate of about 6%. If the conviction rate was 94%, people would not take chances.

Although he did not have the rate for Durban, Dembovsky said in the past four years there were no convictions in Johannesburg and Tshwane for drunken-driving.

This was disturbing because 58% of drivers who died in crashes were three times over the legal limit. The worst days were pay days and Sunday mornings, Dembovsky said.

This comes as eThekwini’s metro police threaten to charge a man for defeating the ends of justice by sharing information on the location of roadblocks.

Lives

Acting metro police head Steve Middleton said sharing information was endangering the lives of people, and helping drunk drivers take alternative routes to avoid roadblocks.

The man told the Daily News’s sister newspaper, the Sunday Tribune, that he was part of a WhatsApp group for Tottenham Hotspur supporters and claimed that he did not share the information.

Dembovsky dared the metro police to charge the man and said it was extremely difficult to prove that sharing of information was defeating the ends of justice.

This was because one would have to prove that the shared information was received by people who had been drinking and driving at the time, which was difficult to prove in court.

Dembovsky said they went after social media’s @pigspotter, which shared information on the location of roadblocks, speed cameras and traffic jams.

He said they ended up working together by putting out false information on roadblocks around the city. This forced people to use alternative forms of transport, Dembovsky added.

Transport, Community Safety and Liaison spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the low conviction rate “was of concern”.

Ncalane said the department had been in talks with the prosecuting authorities to try and get heavier penalties for lawbreakers because fines were not effective, and they wanted to categorise drunken-driving as murder.

Daily News