Ndebele to appeal sentence posed on drunk driver

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has instructed his legal team to lodge an appeal against the suspended five-year prison sentence imposed on a driver found guilty of culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving.

Nicolette Goss, 35, on Wednesday was sentenced to three years house arrest, 16 hours of community service for each month of the three years and her driving licence has been suspended for six months.

In 2006, Goss, a Sydenham resident and former Pinetown Police reservist, who was drinking and driving, hit a concrete block and ploughed into a group of children crossing the road to Charles Hugo Primary School in Randles Road, Sydenham.

Thabani Mngadi, 12, was killed in the crash and Mhlengi Ngobese and twin, Phumelela and Nomnotho Kweyama who were 11-years-old at the time, were injured.

Ndebele said the sentence imposed on Goss is not commensurate with her conduct and must be reviewed, adding that for offences such as speeding, the courts have imposed heftier sentences including fines of more than R100 000.

"Drunk driving is a major contributory factor to road crashes and road deaths in South Africa, it is for this reason that the Department of Transport is considering a total ban on alcohol use for drivers and as of this month, no less than 10 000 drivers will be screened every month for drinking and driving," said Minister Ndebele.

Launching the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 in Boksburg on Wednesday, Ndebele highlighted the urgent need for global intervention to promote road safety.

Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 aims to stabilise and reduce global road deaths by 2020. Ndebele said his department had already embarked on large-scale mobilisation of communities through Community Road Safety Councils.

Council members include traditional leaders, religious leaders, the private sector, schools, government departments as well as civil society. These councils must not be exclusive, but inclusive, he said.

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