The Department of Transport will seek to reclassify drunken driving as a schedule 5 offence, the same category as rape and murder, in a raft of measures aimed at reducing deaths on South African roads. Road fatalities rose 5% in the 2016-17 festive season, and Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday that 2017 could see harsher sentences, including minimum sentencing, and the introduction of the long-awaited point demerit system for licences. The minister’s announcement could prompt a review of existing legislation governing enforcement instruments. Classifying drunk driving as a schedule 5 offence would put the burden of proof for meeting bail conditions on the accused rather than the state. A point-demerit system, which may be implemented nationally by the end of 2017, depends on the transfer of the Electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis), which is facing another legal challenge. Peters announced that 1,714 people were killed in road accidents during the per...

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