Driver charged with murder after fatal accident while allegedly under influence of alcohol

10 April 2018 - 15:48 By Nico Gous
Handcuffs and a gavel. File photo.
Handcuffs and a gavel. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A driver has been charged with murder after allegedly causing a crash that killed four children.

Lazarus Malatjie‚ 42‚ was charged with culpable homicide in September last year‚ but the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decided to change the charge to murder after his blood alcohol tests came back positive.

Malatjie drove into five children‚ killing four and injuring the fifth. His blood alcohol level was almost six times the legal limit at 0.30g per 100ml while the legal limit is 0.05g.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) welcomed the murder charge.

“The NPA invoked the principle of dolus eventualis after laboratory tests proved that his blood-alcohol level during the crash was 0.30‚ far above the legal alcohol limit of 0.05‚” RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said.

Dolus eventualis was central in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. Dolus eventualis means that an accused who foresees that someone may be killed‚ reconciles himself with that possibility and proceeds‚ is guilty of murder.

The case continues in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on May 7.

RTMC CEO Advocate Makhosini Msibi believes the charge shows motorists that drinking and driving will not be tolerated.

“This charge confirms our deeply held view that the prosecution of traffic offences should be tough in order to deter errant drivers and improve compliance with the rules of the road‚” Msibi said.

“We are extremely pleased by the direction taken by the NPA on this matter and hope this will be applied consistently for dangerous and negligent driving cases.”