JPSA calls ‘seven day jail’ suggestion absurd

Photo: Pixaby. For illustrative purposes.

Howard Dembovsky of Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) seems to be furious about a proposal by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) that motorists should be locked up for seven days before they could apply for bail, in the case of certain road infringes.

In a statement he wrote, “Since Sunday, 4 November, the media has been abuzz over the RTMC’s plans to introduce a “seven-days’ in jail policy” before a person who stands accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless or negligent driving, or speeding may apply for bail.

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“In the Sunday Times report which triggered the buzz, Advocate Makhosini Msibi is quoted as saying: “Above all, it must not be automatic, you must spend seven days [in jail] before you can bring the application for bail.”

“So vociferous are Msibi’s absurd assertions that on page 5 of the RTMC’s “Revised Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020” (signed off by Dr Blade Nzimande), Msibi states that “One of the initiatives [of the RTMC] is to re-classify all road traffic offences to Schedule 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA)”. Simply put, this means that even a person who is arrested for parking their vehicle incorrectly should, in Msibi’s mind, be detained for seven days prior to being permitted to launch a bail application.

“There is no provision whatsoever, in any South African law which authorises the South African Police Service to detain a person for seven days prior to bringing that person before a court. In fact, the Criminal Procedure Act expressly prescribes that every arrested person must be brought before a court within 48 hours of their arrest and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa expressly forbids the apartheid era style of detention without trial that the RTMC clearly wishes to reintroduce into South African society.

“This “proposal” is absurd at best and represents little more than a crude attempt by the RTMC to abuse the well-established and legally sound bail process in our criminal justice system. It should be treated with the contempt it deserves,” Dembovsky concluded.

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  AUTHOR
Riaan van Zyl
Journalist

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