Drunk drivers are criminals

2012-10-21 10:00
If any good can come from the verdict in what has commonly been called the Jub Jub case, it should be a warning to those who drive under the influence that the state could potentially choose to treat this as the serious crime it is.

Too often those who have killed others while under the influence of drugs or alcohol have got away with the lesser crime of culpable homicide.

The conviction on four counts of murder of pop artist Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and fellow road hog Themba Tshabalala must send a strong message that drinking and driving is not a misdemeanour but a serious crime, and that those caught will face serious consequences.

Let the message be clear: drunk drivers are no less criminal than those who rob, rape and kill.

The judgment demands a change of attitudes across the board. The criminal justice agencies must act on this momentum.

Law enforcement agencies must redouble their efforts to rid the streets of those who drive drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Once caught, their prosecution must exhibit the disdain with which society views such behaviour and the courts must, by the sentences they mete out to these miscreants, reflect society’s contempt for the criminal act.

All of us not only have the responsibility to stay sober on the roads, but to discourage and stigmatise friends and loved ones who are yet to see the folly, and fatality, of drunken driving.