Drunk drivers sent directly to prison

Cape Argus

Reporter: Murray Williams

FOUR people convicted of drunk driving have been sent to jail without the option of paying fines, and four have had their driver’s licences cancelled. These are just some of the hard-hitting judgments handed down in the province’s magistrate’s courts in recent months. Some of those whose licences were cancelled were also sentenced with no option of paying a fine. One driver had his licence suspended for a decade after being convicted of drinking and driving. Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle welcomed the judgments. The drivers appear on the latest “name and shame” list, a Cape Argus and Western Cape province government initiative, under the banner of LeadSA and Safely Home, that aims to tackle the problem of drunk driving head-on. Today, the Cape Argus publishes the latest list of names of those most recently convicted of drinking and driving-related offences in the province. The 45 names have been handed to the provincial transport department for capture on its eNatis database. They were convicted in connection with:

– Driving “over the limit”: the driver was over the legal limit for blood alcohol, breath alcohol or both.

– Driving “under the influence”: 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. Not all magistrate’s courts file their records simultaneously, and convicted drivers’ names are recorded on the eNatis system as they arrive at the transport department. Carlisle said the campaign’s success depended on how harsh the sentences were, so “it is very gratifying to see that four of our current ‘named and shamed’ drivers have been sent to jail without the option of a fine and that another four have had their licences cancelled”. “The only way to save lives on our roads is to make the consequences of dangerous driving very painful indeed.” According to the latest list, Lambertus Sebastian van Zyl, convicted in Lutzville of being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, had his licence suspended for 10 years and had to pay R6000 or spend 18 months in jail. Hennie Steenberg, convicted in Worcester of being over the limit, had his licence cancelled and was sentenced to R1000 or six months in jail, while Alexus Matsolo, convicted in Bonnievale of being over the limit, had his licence cancelled and was sentenced to three years with no option of a fine. Ernest Fortuin, convicted in Robertson, lost his licence and was sentenced to two years in prison for being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Fanus Jacobs, convicted in Worcester of being over the limit, lost his licence and was sentenced to 18 months. Adam Lodewyk, also convicted in Worcester of being over the limit, had his licence suspended for six months and was sentenced to 24 months in jail with no option of paying a fine. By jailing some of the drivers “the courts are sending a powerful message that will save hundreds of lives”, said Carlisle. “The Name and Shame campaign has already persuaded tens of thousands not to drink and drive and I belive these harsh sentences will persuade many thousands more.”