n Law, Democracy & Development - "One moment of extreme irresponsibility" : notes and comments on and the volitional component of in the context of dangerous or irresponsible driving

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



Charging irresponsible and reckless motorists with intent based crimes is a relatively recent initiative on the part of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Traditionally, the NPA's approach to motor vehicle accidents caused by dangerous or irresponsible driving resulting in death has been to charge the person responsible with culpable homicide. However, in March 2010 the NPA decided to proactively pursue a more "aggressive" prosecutorial strategy by bringing charges of murder and attempted murder against Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye and his co-accused for having collided with a group of schoolchildren while "drag racing". Ostensibly the NPA's rationale for a more aggressive approach to such cases is to increase the preventative and deterrent effects of punishment among South African road users, especially dangerous drivers and those motorists prone to risk taking. The underlying intention of this strategy is to counteract the high number of fatalities on South African public roads that occur as a result of dangerous or reckless driving. However, the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in illustrates that this enterprise, however desirable or well received it may be amongst the public, may not always be justifiable in terms of the established principles of substantive criminal law.

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