Humphreys jail sentence welcomed
Cape Town - The 20-year jail term imposed on minibus taxi driver Jacob Humphreys was welcomed on Tuesday by Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele, who hoped it would deter reckless driving.
"Those who are turning our roads into killing fields must be isolated and exposed, for their deeds are not only a danger to themselves but pose a real threat to the sustainability of society," he said.
"As government, we want to make it very clear that we remain steadfast in our resolve to bring down the fatality rate on our roads."
Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney imposed a 12-year prison sentence for each of Humphreys' 10 murder charges, to run concurrently.
This came to 12 years in prison for the 10 murders.
For the four attempted murder charges, the judge handed down a six-year prison sentence for each.
Four of the six years on each charge would run concurrently with the 12-year sentence for murder. This added, in effect, another eight years - bringing the total jail term to 20 years.
Humphreys was convicted of murder following an accident on August 25, 2010 at the Buttskop level crossing in Cape Town. While taking children to school, he overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks, killing 10 children and injuring four others.
Ndebele said the department would aggressively pursue those who drove recklessly, inconsiderately or while drunk.
Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle said on Tuesday that Humphreys's sentence was a turning point in the history of road safety.
"By convicting and sentencing Humphreys so severely for murder and attempted murder, the judiciary has itself delivered a drastic boost to road safety," he said.
"Reckless drivers will surely sit up and take note that from now on killers will receive their just deserts in prison."
Carlisle said it was critical for citizens to do their part by obeying the rules of the road.
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