The City of Cape Town has flagged an increase in drunk driving arrests ahead of the Easter weekend.
Of the 340 arrests by the City’s enforcement services in the past week, 62 – or 18.2% – were for driving under the influence, and of those, 35 were arrested at two roadblocks, the city said.
“The statistic doesn’t bode well, particularly in the run-up to Easter and for the long weekends that follow. Last week we appealed to motorists to not drink and drive, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.
“While this time of year is notorious for its high traffic fatality rate, we are determined to do whatever is needed to keep it low. Drunk drivers, and anyone who flouts the law, will find themselves in trouble. While I am glad for those who were taken off the road, I am equally dismayed at the flagrant disregard for life.”
The increase in drunk driving arrests comes as the Western Cape plans to move forward on its plans to tackle alcohol abuse in the province through proposed amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Act.
Presenting his state of the province address on 15 February, Western Cape premier Alan Winde said that the amendments follow a previous commitment by the province to help clamp down on alcohol abuse.
“Our provincial cabinet has now granted in-principle approval for the first set of amendments to the Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill to be drafted.
“Drafting instructions are now in an advanced stage and should be completed imminently. The next steps will include a full Regulatory Impact Assessment process of the second set of proposed amendments to the bill.”
Winde said that this will be a two-step amendment process to ensure that ‘quick-win amendments’ can be made as soon as possible, and not be delayed by more significant changes that will require an extensive public participation process.
Some of the changes which have previously been mooted under the amended act include:
- Ensuring that a record of all liquor sales is kept by outlets and prescribe the measure of detail required;
- Permanently confiscating seized liquor following the payment of an admission of guilt fine;
- Obliging licence holders to take reasonable measures to determine that a client is of legal drinking age;
- Inserting an objective test within the Act to determine whether alcohol has been sold to an unlicensed outlet/individual;
- Aligning the Act with the Liquor Products Act to ensure a uniform definition of “Illicit liquor”;
- Providing for a public participation process to alter existing licences.