Cape Town - A civil organisation is advocating for automatic jail time and harsher penalties for drunk drivers after 19-year-old Swedish volunteer Aksel Otterbeck was knocked down and killed while walking home in Table View.
On Tuesday supporters of South Africa Against Drunk Driving held a demonstration on the steps of the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court where Darryl Futter, 28, was appearing on a charge of culpable homicide.
Futter is accused of crashing into Otterbeck and six other people on the night of 14 December 2016. It is alleged he was driving under the influence of alcohol. Otterbeck died at the scene, while four others were taken to hospital and one escaped unharmed.
Futter appeared briefly in Court 16, but the case was remanded for a Regional Court date, set for 27 July.
Otterbeck had been in the country for three months, volunteering at the South African Volunteer Experiences Foundation, where he was involved in educational programs at a Dunoon school. He died five days before he was due to return home.
Harsher penalties needed
Sadd founder Caro Smit said the South African justice system needed to impose harsher sentences and penalties on drunk drivers.
“Victims have fewer rights while the accused have all the rights in the world," she said." We are calling for automatic jail time if you have killed someone - and harsher penalties.
“In Sweden if someone kills a person, his or her licence is suspended and they automatically go to jail; why can’t South Africa do the same?”
Smit said if greater fines were imposed, the money could be used to fund crash scene investigations.
“There is too little alcohol blitz testing on the roads," she said. "Cases are often thrown out of court because administrative forms are done incorrectly.”
'Aksel always had a smile'
Save Foundation manager Gail Strauss recently visited Otterbeck’s family.
"He wanted to become a scientist," she said. "He loved children and was very clever and humble.
“This incident has left staff at the organisation traumatised. We want harsher penalties and longer jail time for the perpetrator.”