Cape Town - The city’s metro cops got Women’s Month off to an early start on Monday 31 July when an officer driving along Merrydale Road in Mitchell’s Plain had to take evasive action to avoid a car that was moving into the roadway.
When she pulled up alongside, she saw the driver was fast asleep and the vehicle was still moving slowly into oncoming traffic - so she jumped out of her patrol vehicle and banged on the car to wake the driver.
While guiding him to park his car she noticed that the middle-aged driver smelled of alcohol. He admitted he’d been drinking since attending a wedding on Saturday, and then offered her R400 to let him go; he slept off his hangover at the Lentegeur police station.
“It’s a blessing that she came across this driver,” said mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith. “I shudder to think what might have happened otherwise.
“This type of behaviour is an absolute disgrace, but so too is the inaction of the people who allowed him to continue drinking and then get behind the wheel. Unless this was a wedding for one, there would have been witnesses to his behaviour and yet no one thought to take his keys away and organise him a ride home.”
But that was just the beginning of a busy week as traffic services held roadblocks at various locations including Pinelands, Mfuleni, Bothasig, Table View and Lwandle - and arrested 128 motorists for drunk driving, plus another 11 for reckless and negligent driving, outstanding warrants, or fraud.
Metro cops, meanwhile, made another 26 arrests, 16 of which were for drunk driving, and, in a four-day integrated public transport operation in Gugulethu and Nyanga from 1-4 August, they impounded 64 sedan taxis and issued 1592 fines for various offences.
‘We receive a steady stream of complaints about taxi drivers and their disregard for the law,” said Smith. “This is one way we push back.
“As it stands, the operators are able to reclaim their vehicles by paying a release fee, but we’re lobbying for a change in the law that will allow us to permanently confiscate their vehicle if we catch them three times.”