THE safety of traffic officers has came into the spotlight again after two Tshwane metro police department (TMPD) officers were yesterday hit by an alleged drunk driver while issuing a fine in the early hours of the morning.
TMPD spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said the two pulled over a vehicle which was driving over the speed limit on the N1 and the Old Johannesburg Road at 4.30am. “While they were busy with the driver, they were hit by another vehicle from behind,” Mahamba said.
“Both officers sustained injuries and were taken to hospital.” He said when the driver who hit them was tested for alcohol, it was found to be way above the limit. He was arrested for drunk driving and negligent driving. “He is also in hospital under police guard. The officers are stable and one officer has been discharged while the other is still in hospital,” he said.
He said it was a disappointment that there were people who still refused to hear messages sent through road safety campaigns regarding drinking and driving and abiding by the rules of the road that were conducted throughout Tshwane. “Despite the disappointment, the department will continue with road safety awareness campaigns that are aimed at reducing road fatalities and enforce the law on those that break the rules of the road,” Mahamba said.
This comes days after a man suspected of being drunk ploughed into two officers at a roadblock and was refused bail last week. Albert Pretorius‚ 41‚ of Paulshof‚ told the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court in his affidavit on Thursday that he had consumed three drinks and had been on prescribed medication when the incident took place. The two female JMPD officers‚ Winnie Mokgolo‚ 35 and Sophie Ngoasheng‚ 45‚ were killed on the evening when he allegedly lost control of his vehicle and rammed into the roadblock mounted by the JMPD along Witkoppen Road near Montecasino.
Pretorius is facing two counts of culpable homicide and one of driving under the influence of alcohol. Two other female officers, two passengers from the stopped vehicles and the driver of the double cab were seriously injured and taken to hospital by the EMS. Mayor Herman Mashaba expressed sadness and anger at the violent deaths of the two officers.
“We are devastated that the city has lost more officers in such a manner. It is believed that the driver who caused the accident was drunk,” Mashaba said. “Over the course of the past weekend alone, JMPD arrested 308 drunk drivers in Johannesburg.”