Nqakula fined R10000 on drunk driving charge

Siyabonga Nqakula was yesterday effectively given a fine of R10000 or six months on a charge of drunken driving.

Siyabonga Nqakula was yesterday effectively given a fine of R10000 or six months on a charge of drunken driving.

Nqakula's father is national Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula and his mother national Minister of Home Affairs Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqakula.

His hearing in the Cape Town magistrates' court before Phindi Norman was a sequel to a late-night head-on smash in the Cape Town CBD in March last year.

Nqakula, 28, allegedly fell asleep at the steering wheel of his mother's car. He had allegedly driven all night night from Johannesburg to Cape Town to attend a jazz festival.

Before sentencing his counsel, Sakkie Maartens, informed the court that Nqakula's parents were present at the proceedings and had brought enough money for a substantial fine.

But when Norman sentenced him to R20000 or 12 months, with half conditionally suspended for five years, Nqakula had to wait in the courtroom until his family returned with additional money.

Norman said Nqakula was lucky that no one had died in the smash, otherwise he would have been in the dock of the regional court facing a culpable homicide charge.

On the night he caused the collision he had been a danger not only to himself, but to his passengers and other road users, Norman said.

After driving to Cape Town Nqakula had visited friends without resting and had then drunk champagne in a restaurant.

Norman told Nqakula: "You made a stupid decision for which you now have to pay. You now have to learn from your mistake."

Maartens told the court Nqakula's arrest and the publicity about the case had had a punitive affect on him.

It had caused him and his family shame and embarrassment.

Norman said she had an option to suspend Nqakula's driver's licence as well, but because he could not afford the luxury of a chauffeur she would allow him a second chance. - Sapa

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