Nowhere to hide for club, pub owners

A YOUNG mother who left her two children - including an eight-month-old baby - in an unlocked car while she went out drinking until nearly 4am has been warned she faces jail.

A YOUNG mother who left her two children - including an eight-month-old baby - in an unlocked car while she went out drinking until nearly 4am has been warned she faces jail.

Published Jun 6, 2011


Cape Town restaurants, pubs and clubs will be targeted by traffic officers if they routinely allow drunk patrons to leave their establishments and get behind the wheel, the Western Cape Transport Department has warned.

And today, as part of its LeadSA campaign, the Cape Argus publishes the list of names of the most recently convicted drunken drivers sentenced in Western Cape criminal courts. These names have been handed over to the provincial transport department by magistrate’s courts to be capture on the eNatis database.

This “Name and Shame” campaign is in partnership with the provincial government’s “Safely Home” campaign.

At the Brandhouse Responsible Drinking media awards last week, the Cape Argus won the print category for its contribution towards reducing drunken driving.

As the latest 58 names are published today, Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle announced that he was to ramp up the pressure against drivers who abuse alcohol. Now restaurant, shebeen, club and bar owners are in his sights.

Carlisle has called on owners of these venues “to take responsibility for those who drink at their establishments”.

“Every club, pub, shebeen or restaurant has a responsibility to help me to eliminate drunken driving,” said Carlisle.

“I am giving notice that I will, in the future, use roadblocks and other methods to target certain localities where people consume large quantities of alcohol.”

The MEC said he would give establishments “time to get their house in order before the onset of these roadblocks”.

But he warned that the roadblocks would start soon.

Until now, it has not been common practice for traffic authorities to target specific establishments, but Carlisle said this would now change.

“I do not accept a situation where people are plied with massive amounts of alcohol and the proprietor looks the other way when they stumble out the door to climb into their cars.

“As proprietors you are morally responsible to ensure that the person that gets drunk on your premises does not drink and drive, endangering their life and the lives of others.”

Carlisle said the roadblocks would be followed up by meetings with the owners of pubs and similar establishments at which he would explain what he believed to be their responsibilities.

Tourism MEC Alan Winde said of the plans: “I’m in support of this.

“It makes good sense for an establishment owner to intervene.”

He said owners not only had a moral obligation but “it makes good business sense for an establishment owner to prevent patrons from going out on to the road and driving drunk or, worse, hurting and damaging other people.

“I convened a meeting late last year between Fedhasa (Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa), big liquor producers and the taxi industry to discuss this.

“I envisage a restaurant going into a partnership with a transport company – it would be easy to work out a business model – and for a restaurant owner to be able to direct patrons to a taxi service, if necessary,” he said.

Winde added, however, that the primary responsibility would always remain with the drivers.

Fedhasa Western Cape’s Dirk Elzinga sounded a warning in response to the news: “The minister should not exaggerate. Responsible restaurants are already doing this – that’s what good restaurant and good bar owners do.

“Yes, there may be some ‘not-so-responsible’ owners who are not doing this, and we would have no problem with them (being targeted). But the minister should not be draconian against those who are being responsible.”

Winde cited the impact of “last drinks” campaigns in New Zealand and Australia, where law enforcement officers would find out where drunk drivers had been prior to their arrests and then investigate whether action could be taken against proprietors.

The names on the “Name and Shame” list were given to the transport department by magistrate’s courts across the province, in connection with two crimes:

• Driving over the limit: this means the driver was tested and found to be over the legal limit for blood alcohol, breath alcohol or both. The 58 in the list published today were all blood-tested. The legal limit is 0.24 percent per 1 000ml of blood.

• Driving under the influence: this means the driver was convicted based on records showing him or her to be driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs – for example, witness testimony or photographic evidence. The list does not say when the crimes were committed. Convicted drivers’ names are recorded as they arrive at the transport department. – Cape Argus

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