A reported 131 arrests were made by the City of Cape Town’s Enforcement agencies within the last week, majority of which were for drunk driving. The City warned that these cases are placing unnecessary strain on the healthcare system amid the COVID-19 resurgence in the province.

Officers arrested 98 motorists, impounded 253 vehicles, 85 cellphones and issued 66 585 fines for various transgressions. More than 80% of the arrests were for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Most of the arrests occurred during 13 roadblocks held at various locations around the city.

During a road block in Brackenfell on Saturday afternoon [November 28], officers arrested 16 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol. Another road block in Fish Hoek also netted 16 arrests for DUI.

The Metro Police and Law Enforcement Departments made 33 additional arrests, pushing the overall tally to 131. The two departments also accounted for more than 7 000 fines for traffic and bylaw transgressions. Law Enforcement officers also confiscated 414 units of alcohol and issued 116 fines related to drinking in public.

“The trends are worrying, but not unsurprising. We have for years been lamenting the culture of drunk driving on our roads, and it seems that the number of arrests does little to change behaviour,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

“Often, cases are also on the court roll for a very long time, so there is no immediate sanction for the actions, which emboldens drivers to continue this very dangerous behaviour. However, driving drunk is only one of the many problems associated with alcohol abuse. I’ve no doubt that our EMS colleagues could attest to the many alcohol-related trauma cases that they deal with on a daily basis, but particularly over weekends.

“With the current COVID-19 resurgence, our healthcare system needs all the help it can get. We therefore call on the public to do their bit, and adapt their behaviour accordingly, and most importantly, to note the difference between alcohol use and alcohol abuse,” he said.

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