7 days in jail for drunk driving – South African law will not allow this

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC)’s plans to force drunk drivers to spend seven days in jail are absurd, according to Justice Project South Africa (JPSA).

The RTMC is pushing for tougher action against drunk drivers ahead of the festive season, and proposed to have drunk driving, speeding, and reckless and negligent driving reclassified in terms of the Criminal Procedures Act.

The organisation wants driving under the influence to be reclassified from a schedule 2 to schedule 5 offence, putting it on par with rape, murder, theft, and fraud.

JPSA chairman Howard Dembovsky has labelled this proposal absurd, especially advocate Makhosini Msibi’s assertion that offenders must spend seven days in jail before they can bring an application for bail.

“Simply put, this means that even a person who is arrested for parking their vehicle incorrectly should, in Msibi’s mind, be detained for seven days prior to being permitted to launch a bail application,” Dembovsky said.

“There is no provision whatsoever in any South African law which authorises the South African Police Service to detain a person for seven days prior to bringing that person before a court.”

He added that the Criminal Procedures Act requires every arrested person to be brought before a court within 48 hours of their arrest.

“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,” Dembovsky said.

He added that the proposal is absurd at best and should be treated “with the contempt it deserves”.

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7 days in jail for drunk driving – South African law will not allow this