The son of one of eight pedestrians who were killed by alleged drunk drivers in the Eastern Cape on Monday, says his mother, Miriam Gcakazi, 72, was a disciplinarian who cautioned youngsters against drinking and driving.
The 29-year-old driver appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on charges of drunk driving and culpable homicide on Wednesday.
He was released on R1,000 bail, said Port Elizabeth police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg.
The victim’s son Jackson Gcakazi, 46, a carpenter working in East London, said his mother did not deserve to die in such a horrific manner.
“My mother was a very sweet person. She raised myself and my older brother, Brian, very well. She didn’t drink or smoke. When she found out we were drinking, she talked to us and taught us to drink responsibly all the time. She continuously cautioned us about the dangers of drinking and driving and we carried her words with us wherever we were.”
On Tuesday, the Eastern Cape Department of Transport said 10 people were killed on provincial roads on Monday, with eight of those being pedestrians.
The incidents happened on the first day of the unbanning of alcohol sales after 65 days and reopening of most economic activities.
“The unbanning of alcohol had a detrimental effect. In just 24 hours, there were 10 accidents where people lost their lives and my mother is one of them.
“I would say this should be a lesson for our government. In case the country finds itself in another disaster that requires such measures like lockdown, they should first check all risks involved in opening up the economy again and prepare well. It appears they did not see the risks,” said Jackson.
Janse van Rensburg said the accused’s two passengers, aged 31 and 33, who were also arrested for obstructing the police in their duties, did not appear in court. She could not provide a reason.
Gcakazi was hit by the car on the corner of Main Road and 11 th Avenue in Walmer on Monday while walking from work, said national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo.
“It is alleged that on Monday 1 June 2020 at about 16:20, a 72-year-old woman was crossing the road on the corners of Main Road and 11th Avenue in Walmer when an Audi A4 knocked into her. The two passengers in the vehicle, aged 31 and 33 years old were also arrested and charged for obstructing police in their duties.
“Since the implementation of the national lockdown, law enforcement officers including the police, SANDF, metro and provincial traffic officers as well as the metro police have been enforcing the regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
“As the country moved down to Level 3 as from 1 June 2020, there appears to be more movement in terms of traffic and pedestrians.”
Naidoo said to ensure communities abided by the regulations and stay safe, policing would be directed to hotspot areas.