The City of Cape Town’s traffic services have vowed to clamp down on errant taxi drivers, and other reckless motorists, in Blaauwberg.
Principal traffic inspector Desre Benadie told Sub-council 3’s meeting in Goodwood on Friday August 18 that drivers caught for moving violations will be now be arrested instead of fined.
The campaign would start on Friday September 1, but anyone caught before then would be arrested.
The operation by Milnerton traffic department will focus on negligent and reckless driving such as taxi drivers skipping red traffic lights and speeding.
“We will charge whoever is guilty of moving violations,” Ms Benadie said to applause from councillors.
Issuing fines, she said, had had no effect on driver behaviour, hence the need for a new approach.
“We’ve realised that issuing tickets is not working. It doesn’t bring down our accident rate,” she said.
Fines didn’t work because drivers went to court where the charges were either withdrawn or the fines reduced.
“The next day, you find that same person breaking traffic laws again,” she said.
Councillors welcomed the plan, but warned that traffic officers should use unmarked cars.
ACDP councillor Demetrius Dudley said Blaauwberg residents were “exasperated” that nothing was happening to curb errant behaviour on the roads there.
“Your presence is needed,” he said at the meeting.
He later posted news of the change in strategy on the Greater Table View Action Forum (GTAF) Facebook page saying: “Expect them to deal with taxis and any other vehicles who intentionally and blatantly disregard the national traffic laws more harshly,” he wrote.
GTAF chairwoman Karen Davis welcomed the plan “as long as they (traffic services) can deliver”.
She said the community was so “fed up” with the taxis “I fear an armed barricade will happen soon”. (“Table View taxi trouble revs residents”, Tabletalk, September 7, 2016).
Residents of Table View and surrounds have long complained about the behaviour of taxis, often posting pictures on social media of violations.
Ms Davis said residents had spent hours collating information on taxis, their offences and route dodgers.
“We are tired of the total disregard for human life and the laws of the road,” she said.
“Traffic lights are ignored, taxis stop where they want, and they ‘sneak’ into the turn-right-only lane to go through red traffic lights.”
She said the community felt it was “being held hostage” by the taxis. “We are concerned that it will take a death of a child, or anyone for that matter, to get the authorities to do something.”
Sub-council 3 chairwoman Helen Carstens asked whether Edgemead Drive, Vryburger Avenue and Bosmansdam Road would be part of the operation, to which Ms Benadie said: “We had our first arrest yesterday (Thursday August 17) in Vryburger Avenue.”
Ward 107 councillor Nicky Rheeder asked what would be done about “spotters” who tipped taxis off about the presence of traffic officers. She said that happened on the corner of Otto du Plessis Drive and Sandown Road.
Ms Benadie said full teams in unmarked cars would focus on all the roads where there were problems with moving violations.
DA proportional representative (PR) councillor Lindela Tshwete said not only taxi drivers were guilty of breaking traffic laws. “I was nearly hit by an old man on Vryburger Avenue,” he said.
Ms Benadie replied that taxis drew most of the complaints from the public.
On Thursday August 17, a resident posted on the Table View Frustrated Residents and Ratepayers’ Association Facebook page saying: “From Marine Drive to Wood Drive, I counted 10 taxis going through red robots. We must get rid of our councillor if they refuse to do something about it. They ride up the turning lane and then cut back in through the red robots.”
This elicited heated responses from others on the page about the situation.
A woman responded: “I counted nine in the MyCiTi bus lane in Koeberg Road. They were speeding as if they’re at Killarney.”