MOVING ON: Tony Yengeni (right) has paid his R15 000 fine for DUI. The majority of Wheels24 readers feel his sentence was too lenient. Image: EDREA DU TOIT
Cape Town - Earlier in March, the Cape Town Regional Court sentenced ANC national executive committee member Tony Yengeni to a R30 000 fine or 90 days in jail but this will be effectively halved on condition he isn't convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol for five years, News24 reported.
Yengeni was forced to pay a fine of R15 000. Justice Project South Africa's national chairman, Howard Dembovsky, questioned Yengeni's sentencing.
Dembovsky said: "It is notable that despite being convicted of this offence, Yengeni’s driving licence was not suspended for a minimum period of six months as is mandatory in terms of Section 35 of the National Road Traffic Act."
Wheels24 asked its readers: "Do agree with Tony Yengeni's DUI sentence? Should judges have handed down a stricter sentence?"
More than 4600 readers agreed that Yengeni should have been handed a harsher sentence while 1755 felt his reduced fine 'sends the wrong message' to the public. Only 697 readers believe his sentence was appropriate.
Dembovsky continued: "In December 2016, a speeding but sober motorist who was driving on a freeway was convicted in a KwaZulu-Natal Magistrates’ Court, sentenced to a R40 000 fine, where no suspended portion applied thereto, but also suspended his driving licence for twelve months.
"Both, the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the Minister of Transport publicly vilified the Magistrate in that matter, holding that the man’s driving licence should have been cancelled, as opposed to being suspended."
"Yengeni’s blood alcohol level was apparently five times the 'legal limit'. We trust that the RTMC and Minister will express a similar level of outrage in relation to Yengeni’s matter to that they expressed in the KZN speeding matter."
Hilton: I think this very irresponsible, there are too many lives involved on the road. This should be treated as a very serious offence.
Concerned citizen: My brother is a 62 year old and 3 years ago had too much to drink. On his way home he hit a stationary car with no one in the vehicle. He was arrested and his blood alcohol level was 2 x that of the legal limit (This happened in the Western Cape) He was given a fine of R12 000 plus his licence was suspended for 5 years.
Yengeni’s sentence does not make sense to me, is it perhaps because of his money, notoriety as an ANC member or both that he became the lesser of evils as a drunk driver. And for him to then declare that the DA does not want people of color in the Western Cape, as if shifting the blame to a governing paty is the reason for his fine. He is a looser and deserves to be in jail. Once again it proves, there are two sets of rules, those with the money and connections and those who tirelessly slog through another day. My personal opinion is that the limit should be 0% and that no mercy must be shown to those breaking the law, however the fines and licence suspensions must serve all.
Liz Coates: I do not see why Tony Yengeni should be treated differently to other South African citizens. He should be treated the same as any drunk driver. And if I’m not mistaken, this is not the first time he is court for his drinking habits.
Chester Phiri: I think the judgement was bearing in mind that that though drunk driving is not acceptable, he was not cause any accident so I believe that the judgement was fair.
Prosecutor: I am a prosecutor stationed in a Western Cape court. We deal with drunk driving cases daily. Before making noise, people(JPSA) must get their facts in order. Concerned people can go to the court manager and ask for records of drunk driving cases finalized in the past 12 months. There are no bases to think Yengeni was treated differently.
Roy Eppel: No, I don’t agree with this sentence. This man, no matter how powerful he is/was, is a serial offender, has already been convicted and sentenced for fraud, has also other infringements, and shows a total disregard for the rule of law.
He should in fact, have been made an example of in terms of the harshest sentence, and have had his licence withdrawn.
Leoni: I absolutely disagree with the sentence. Totally too lenient. Who did he bribe?
Morrisons: It pays to belong to the ANC and have friends in high places. No one else would get away so lightly.
Craig: I don't agree with the sentence handed down, I as a citizen of this country will be badly influenced from this outcome. I now can drink knowing that if I do get stopped or pulled over, I can bribe the officers and continue on my way. That is the biggest problem we facing in this country. Its greed that is costing innocent peoples lives, bribery as well that's causing people to have bad attitudes.
Henk: He should be jailed.
Johnny: Sentence totally inappropriate and too lenient, and proves that ANC cronies are above the law!
Mark: Why don't JPSA investigate the currency manipulation from the banks and investment companies? The courts deal with others: Mr Yengeni and found him guilty! There is so much more pertinent projects JPSA can get involved with but I suppose they choose what pro cats to voice themselves!
What about our food prices in the country? Does JPSA investigate or voice them over the price of food? These groups like JPSA and Outa has been establish not for fair and honest concern for every citizen of South Africa but being selective who and what projects to attack!