Drunk driving prosecutions in the balance - statement by UDM Spokesperson on Justice (16 March 2010)

The United Democratic Movement is disturbed by the National Prosecuting Authority’s confirmation that it has withdrawn all drunken driving cases for the past two weeks in Gauteng (which had not yet started), due to a certification problem with the Dräger breathalyser machine.

This comes at a time when a celebrity is accused of driving under the influence, resulting in the tragic death of 4 young people. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time that people, well-known or not, put their and other road-users’ lives at risk. It’s illegal, and if things go wrong it not only cost thousands of Rands in medical expenses and property damage, it costs lives.

We are however encouraged by reports that ANC Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu will face the full might of the law in the Western Cape. Government should be doing more to stop the carnage on our roads. It is disconcerting how a change to prosecutorial guidelines had caused the Dräger machines to fall outside the necessary certification.

We call on all our citizens to act responsibly: do not get behind the wheel if you are under the influence. The consequences are far-reaching for the driver and for the innocent people who get injured or die.