It has been one week since the alcohol ban was lifted, and three Tshwane Metro Police officers were killed in a head-on collision with a suspected drunk driver. Police Minister Bheki Cele says the South African Police Service (SAPS) must react harshly against drunk drivers.
“According to reports, in the early hours of Sunday morning, a TMPD vehicle collided head-on with a suspected drunk driver who was evading the police in Pretoria West,” reads the statement.
“The three officers in the vehicle and the suspected drunk driver all died on the scene. A female passenger who was travelling with the alleged drunk driver is recovering in hospital. Inside the vehicle, empty and full bottles of alcohol were found.”
Cele has denounced the reckless behaviour that’s led to the senseless loss of life.
“The lives of these young officers were cut short by a man who chose to drink and act irresponsibly. While the alcohol ban has been lifted under Lockdown Level 2, it still remains the responsibility of those who consume alcohol to do so, without putting themselves and those around them in danger. If alcohol was consumed at home as per government’s directive, the loss of lives could have been avoided,” he says.
SAPS confirmed that 740 suspects, including two police officers were arrested for drinking and driving in Gautend this past weekend. A 27-year-old Constable was arrested in Sedibeng on Saturday night after driving into an accident, injuring a bystander. He was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol as well as reckless and negligent driving.
A Sergeant was also arrested in Norwood, Johannesburg on Thursday night after his car collided with a Metro police vehicle. The 37-year-old was arrested on the spot and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Cele has also reminded South Africans that a 10pm curfew is still in place.
“While this incident is a great loss to the Metro Police department, police officers will continue in their numbers, to enforce the law and clamp down hard, especially on reckless behaviour brought on by alcohol abuse,” Cele concluded.
The government has also condemned such behaviour, and calls on residents to remain cautious and drink responsibly.
“Alcohol abuse is also often at the heart of contact crimes which include murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault resulting in grievous bodily harm, common assault, and robbery. Some families risk being totally destroyed because of the extent of alcohol abuse, it is estimated that around 70 per cent of domestic violence is associated with alcohol.
“Law enforcement agencies are urged to do their part through visible enforcement, but more important, we urge road users, especially drivers, to take extra care and exercise utmost vigilance on the road. We welcome the call from the Police Minister Bheki Cele for police to be tough on alcohol consumption and driving.”