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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: 8-year-old child driving an SUV – funny or plain negligence?

The idea of a child driving can have serious consequences for other road users and parents.

As the holiday season gets underway and authorities are in full swing to ensure safety on the country’s roads, concerns have been raised about an 8-year-old child driving in a residential area.

In a video, which has been widely circulated on social media platforms, the child can be seen behind the wheel of an upmarket SUV.

It is understood the video was captured in Roshnee near Vereeniging.

Can’t see over the steering wheel

It shows the child with one arm casually hanging out of the driver’s side window chatting to residents on the side of the road.

One of the bystanders remaked “Hy’s net to oulik” (he’s just too cute), while another bystander said it was “ridiculous”, while asking him how old he was and where his father was.

“I am going to your father, come I follow you because this is ridiculous, you can hardly see over the steering wheel,” said the man.

When asked who gave him the car to drive, he said: “My father.”

The boy then speeds off in the vehicle, followed by an elderly man in another vehicle.

Not funny

Some comments on Facebook were in favour of the child driving.

“[He’s] better off then people who buy their license,” wrote one person, while another said: “Chill people. The kid is driving on a residential area, not on a public highway. But at least in case of an emergency his parents can rely on him.”

However, there were some who saw the irresponsibility of a child behind the wheel of a car.

“What a poor lack of judgement of all those adults that are in this video, it’s good his dad has taught him to drive, but to let such an underage child drive on a public road, putting others at risk, is just pure irresponsibility and stupidity!” wrote the user.

Watch the incident unfold:

ALSO READ: December road safety: Accidents cost SA R188 billion

Serious consequences

While many have found the video and even the idea of a child driving funny, there are serious consequence for his actions.

The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Xolani Fihla said the parent of any child driving on a public road the parent will be prosecuted.

“Children between 8 and 14 years are presumed to not commit offences knowingly, and a court would normally only prosecute the parent.”

Fihla said a child under the age of 10 years cannot be arrested.

“This means that a child under 10 years does not have criminal capacity and cannot be charged or arrested for an offence. In such a case, the child will be referred to the Children’s Court.”

Minors committing crimes

Fihla shared details of would happen if a child committed a crime:

  • A child above 14, but under 18 years of age, is said to have criminal capacity and can be arrested.
  • When a minor is suspected to have committed a crime or found at the crime scene, they will be formally and officially arrested, but cannot be handcuffed.
  • According to the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008, under no circumstances can an arrested minor be transported in a marked police vehicle, or be kept in a cell with other prisoners.
  • Once the minor has arrived at the police station, they will be placed in a private office, where their parents or guardians will be traced and informed of the allegations against the minor.
  • The minor will be released from the station after the completion of police documents, and other relevant issues will be discussed.
  • The parent/guardian will be accountable for the minor, and it will be their responsibility to make sure that the minor attends all court proceedings.

ALSO READ: 10 000 new police recruits joining a broken organisation, low on morale, resources

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