Three Tshwane metro police department officers are among the people who died in alcohol-related vehicle accidents that occurred in Gauteng this weekend while 740 drivers were caught for drunk driving.
This comes less than a week after the sale of alcohol under lockdown level 2 was allowed.
The three metro police officers were involved in a head-on collision with a suspected drunk driver in Pretoria West early yesterday morning.
According to TMPD spokesperson, senior superintendent Isaac Mahamba, the officers spotted a vehicle driving recklessly and facing oncoming traffic in the Pretoria CBD. The officers tried to stop the vehicle but it fled and the officers began a chase.
“The vehicle in pursuit was then involved in a head-on collision with the TMPD vehicle that was giving back up. The three Tshwane metro police officers that were inside the vehicle all died on the scene,” he said.
The driver of the car also died on the scene and a woman passenger in the vehicle was transported to the nearest hospital.
“Empty and full alcohol bottles were found in the suspect’s vehicle. A case of culpable homicide has been opened,” Mahamba added.
Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko said that she was saddened by the tragic accident and conveyed her condolence to the families of the officers and the TMPD.
“It is less than a week since the sale of alcohol has been opened under the National Disaster Act regulations, and a driver suspected of being drunk has taken the lives of three law enforcement officers. As government, we continue to plead with citizens to drink responsibility to prevent the senseless loss of lives,” she said.
The police announced that during weekend operations, about 740 suspects were arrested including two police officers for drinking and driving.
“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 arrested in Norwood, Joburg, 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,” said Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.
Peters added that intensified operations saw 283 suspects arrested in Ekurhuleni, 215 on the West Rand, 173 in Joburg, 100 in Tshwane and 70 in Sedibeng.
“These suspects were arrested for Contravention of Disaster Management Act and other crimes that include driving while under the influence of alcohol, murder, attempted murder, rape, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of unlicensed firearms, intimidation and possession of drugs,” she said.
Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela welcomed the arrests and offered condolences to the TMPD.
“This kind of tragedy cuts deep in all of us, reminding us of the great risks taken every day by our men and women in law enforcement to protect and keep our communities safe,” he said.
Mahamba said that the TMDP attended about 30 accidents from Friday until yesterday morning and that most of the accidents were alcohol related.
Meanwhile, Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Senior Superintendent Wayne Minnaar confirmed that the JMPD attended to one alcohol-related accident this weekend.
On Saturday evening, a fatal vehicle accident happened in Eldorado Park between a blue VW Golf 1 and a white Toyota Quantum. Both vehicles were travelling in different directions along K43 Road.
“The driver lost control of his vehicle as it was oscillating forcing the vehicle to travel across the oncoming lanes and collided with the Quantum,” Minnaar said.
Both male passengers in the Golf died on the scene while the passengers in the Quantum were slightly injured. Minnaar added that during a joint law enforcement operation on Saturday evening, one male foreign national was arrested for selling alcohol takeaways in Hillbrow and seven suspects were issued J534 forms, written notice to appear in court, for public drinking.