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Johannesburg - Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) chairman Howard Dembovsky has labelled the mooted proposals for a seven-day pre-bail jail policy for drunk drivers as an “absurd” and “crude” attempt by the RTMC to abuse South Africa’s well-established and legally-sound bail process.

It has been widely reported that the RTMC is pushing to have all road traffic offences re-classified to ‘Schedule 5’ offences. This, according to the JPSA, could mean that motorists may even be detained for a week simply for parking their vehicle incorrectly.

“There is no provision whatsoever, in any South African law which authorises police to detain a person for seven days prior to bringing that person before a court,” Dembovsky asserted.

“In fact, the Criminal Procedure Act expressly prescribes that every arrested person must be brought before a court within 48 hours of their arrest and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa expressly forbids the apartheid era style of detention without trial that the RTMC clearly wishes to reintroduce into South African society.”

The RTMC is reportedly also pushing for a minimum fine of R2000 or a two-year prison sentence (or both) for those found guilty of drinking and driving.

As previously reported, the DA insists that sending drunk drivers to prison won’t help matters.

“We are already sending people to jail and it is not helping,” said transport spokesperson Nceba Hinana.

“There are people in prison for the most petty crimes and they cannot get out because they can’t maybe pay the bail of as little as R50. We need to find ways to change the behaviour. Sending people to jail for things is, unfortunately, not going to work.”

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