Speeding premier back in court next week

2012-01-25 11:03

Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet was due to appear in the East London Magistrates Court today on charges of speeding after she was nabbed recently.

Kiviet was not in court when her name was called, but her office had sent a letter of apology on her behalf, as she had other commitments. She is expected to be back in court on February 2.

Kiviet became one of the statistics related to a by-law of East London’s Buffalo City Municipality, which allows municipal traffic officials to arrest motorists found to have exceeded the speed limit by more than 30 km/h.

Motorists arrested under this initiative do not necessarily spend the night in jail, but could be freed after paying bail, and are then required to appear in court.

The premier, who was driving her state vehicle, was caught doing 93km/h on Settler’s Way, a 60km/h zone, in East London.

Her spokesperson, Manelisi Wolela, issued a statement today according to which the premier was responding to “an emergency call” from her sick mother when she was caught speeding on December 20.

Kiviet was not in court as she, and the rest of her executive, is set to meet with Congress of South African Trade Unions secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi, as well as teacher union Sadtu leadership, to discuss Sadtu’s threat to destabilise education over their fight with provincial education head Modidima Mannya.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is also in the crisis-stricken province and is expected to address an education indaba in Mount Frere over the status of Cabinet’s intervention in education in the Eastern Cape.

Meanwhile Buffalo City, whose officials made the arrest, referred all queries to Wolela.

It is understood Kiviet did not resist arrest, but rather owned up to her indiscretion – as she is also expected to do so when she appears before a magistrate on February 2.

She is not the only high-profile person to fall foul of Buffalo City Municipality’s festive season clampdown on speeding and reckless driving.

As part of its zero tolerance approach over the festive season, the city had announced it would arrest any person found to be have exceeded the speed limit by more that 30km/h.

Many residents, some of whom found themselves on the wrong side of the law, have been up in arms over the initiative, saying the city should target more serious crimes, and stick to fining speedsters.

Many lamented the time wasted during the arrest period and as well as the return trip to court.

At the time of publication it could not be established how successful the initiative had been, but Buffalo City DA councillor Kobus Botha believed it was enough of a deterrent.

“We must continue with such a campaign because over time it can change people’s behaviour for the better. Although I’m happy with how the campaign went this festive season, I think there is still room for improvement. There will always be room for improvement.”

Botha said he hoped Kiviet would be treated as any normal citizen from Buffalo City and that justice would more swiftly. 

» This report was updated to include the comment of the premier’s spokesperson.

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