Name, shame campaign hits speed bump

2013-06-13 22:28

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Johannesburg - A “name and shame” campaign for convicted drunk drivers in the Western Cape has been shut down by the department of justice, Transport MEC Robin Carlisle claimed on Thursday.

"The 'Safely Home' campaign has been pivotal in achieving a 30% decrease in road traffic fatalities in the province since 2009," Carlisle said in a statement.

He said the “name and shame” campaign was run according to procedure, and relied on court records supplied in terms of the National Road Traffic Act, to the provincial transport department.

"The national department of justice initially simply ordered the courts to stop supplying the records, then later ordered them to supply a truncated record, which excluded the offence and sentence of the culprit," Carlisle said.

In a letter to Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, last Thursday, he insisted that the order be shut down and that the campaign be reversed.

He said the letter was copied to LeadSA heads Yusuf Abramjee and Chris Whitfield, and was then publicly released via Twitter on Wednesday.

Made public

Justice spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the letter was "published in the media" before Carlisle could discuss the matter with the justice department.

"Contrary to insinuations, [the] justice department supports all efforts aimed at addressing the scourge of drunk driving and has not 'shut down' the Western Cape government's campaign," he said.

Mhaga said measures had been introduced to ensure that the information was properly screened, in consultation with the transport department, and did not include cases which were subject to review and appeal proceedings.

"Drunken driving charge sheets and judgments are public records and [the justice department]... in terms of the law, is only required to provide the name and details of the sentence, which we do," he said.

Judgments and charge sheets

Mhaga said the justice department could not be expected to copy "millions" of pages of judgments and charge sheets.

"The MEC is free to visit any court for such records on a case-to-case bases and for purposes that he wants to use it, as it's not our legal duty to publish these names," he said.

Carlisle said Transport Minister Ben Martins had previously said he would support measures by the Western Cape government to curb drunk driving.

"I hope that this means that I will have his full support on this matter."

- SAPA

Read more on:    yusuf abramjee  |  robin carlisle  |  jeff radebe  |  ben martins  |  cape town
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