'Speeding' husband was arrested 'in interest of public safety', says Cape Town traffic dept

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Arnold Tembo and his late wife, Joan.
Arnold Tembo and his late wife, Joan.
  • The City of Cape Town said the arrest of Arnold Tembo, 70, for negligent driving while rushing to see his dying wife in hospital was done in the interest of public safety.
  • Tembo was arrested last Wednesday.
  • He is due to appear at the Athlone Magistrate's Court on 7 April.

The City of Cape Town says the arrest of Arnold Tembo, 70, who was rushing to his dying wife's bedside in Lentegeur hospital, was done in the interest of public safety.

Tembo was rushing to say farewell to his wife, Joan, when he was stopped and detained for speeding and driving recklessly last Wednesday, as he rushed to the hospital.

She died before he could reach her side. 

Traffic Services spokesperson, Assistant Chief Maxine Bezuidenhout said Tembo's arrest was done in the interest of public safety.

"The City has a responsibility to ensure the safety of all lives and in this case, arresting the offender was done in the interest of public safety," she said.

She said traffic officers spotted Tembo's car on Klipfontein Road, travelling at "an extremely high speed". 

"Officers pursued the vehicle in a marked patrol car with their blue lights and siren activated

"At the intersection of Klipfontein Road and Jakes Gerwel Drive, he drove through a red robot without reducing speed and without any regard for other road users," added Bezuidenhout.

Authorities said he refused to stop for the pursuing officers and continued driving at excessively high speed.

READ | 'I just wanted to hear her final words' - man arrested while racing to get to his dying wife 

Speaking to News24, Tembo said that his circumstance was one of urgency.

Officers eventually forced him to stop at Jakes Gerwel Drive and the R300 offramp. 

The 70-year-old spent almost three hours at the Manenberg police station, where he was later informed that his wife Joan had died.

"The department empathises with the motorist's unfortunate circumstances," Bezuidenhout said.

According to the traffic department, on numerous occasions, they had assisted motorists in urgent need of getting to hospital. 

However, in this instance, Tembo refused to stop, and instead sent officers on a high speed chase, while putting the lives of others at risk.

Tembo said the traffic officers refused to help him get to the hospital.

He is now due to appear at the Athlone Magistrate's Court on 7 April.

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