Revise traffic legislation

with the safety of the taxpaying public.

Most speeding fines are opportunistic and malicious (as is the nature of a parasite). Speed traps are never placed for enhancement of road safety, they are placed on safe, fast stretches of road for the purposes of revenue collection and to (probably?) generate wealth for private individuals and corporations like Kapsch (the profiteers of the e-toll system).

Why are there no permanent fixed cameras along Koeberg Road between Milnerton and the M5? A dangerous stretch of road, populated by vehicles, disabled people, donkeys, children, mothers pushing prams, unattended domestic pets, household appliances and other human detritus?

The City’s response? Make the road surface narrower, more dangerous. The City builds concrete obstacles and plants poles in the roadway, blocking parking spaces with concrete. This leaves a moving vehicle with zero margin for error and zero escape route should a dangerous situation arise. These obstacles serve no purpose and are over engineered to a terrifying degree, giving us a glimpse of an obsessive Orwellian type of traffic management.

The City pretends to care by a continuous and useless programme of installing pedestrian traffic lights, this for the amusement of the unemployed and school children,who enjoy pressing the buttons in order to stop the flow of traffic. In these instances the City’s traffic management changes the risk profile of the roadway and makes it more dangerous for all road users.

Cape Town must have the highest concentration of traffic lights in the universe, new ones are being installed all the time and all of these obstructions are unsynchronised.

I think this is the result of “graft”, a form of corruption where contracts are granted to insiders for useless construction projects and are a waste of ratepayer’s money.

I would like the public to tell us of any time they have ever seen a patrol car pull over a motorist for a moving violation compared with the number of revenue collectors on foot they see, issuing tickets to empty parked cars where the driver is not even in attendance.

Let’s call JP Smith to give us some statistics of his “road safety”, how many accidents are prevented by the foot patrol.

* JP Smith, Mayoral committee member for safety and security, responds:

Traffic fines are not opportunistic or malicious. They serve as a penalty for someone who has transgressed the Road Traffic Act, which is the national code that determines both safe and courteous driving behaviour to make sure that people are safe on our roads and that everybody does not have to suffer constant road rage because of discourteous drivers on the road.

The fine is the only way to hold a person accountable and ensure that there is a penalty for their dangerous driving behaviour.

Or at least it would be, if everybody complied with the Road Traffic Act and paid their fines.

Sadly, more and more South Africans ignore the road regulations and this reflects in our horrific road death toll – among the highest in the world.

The fact that many people get away without paying their fines means people who offend these regulations designed to ensure safe road use are never compelled to face the consequences of their actions and therefore do not bother to change their behaviour.

These scofflaws are the true parasites and play games with the lives of others and treat the criminal justice system with contempt, which is confined not just to traffic transgressions, but can be seen increasingly in all aspects of how people break laws of our country with impunity.

This attitude is part of a disease which affects South Africa – a disease which says that nobody should be held accountable for anything and which refuses to take responsibility for things people do – it starts with our State president and trickles down to the motorist who swears at the traffic officer who pulls him over for ignoring a stop street or speaking on his cellphone while driving (which is stastistically more dangerous than drunk driving), usually demanding that the officer “go catch some real criminal like a murderer or rapist”.

What such drivers forget is that until the City and the Western Cape Government started our joint Safely Home Campaign and implemented a variety of new road safety and enforcement startegies, we were seeing as many people killed on our roads as we see killed through violent crime – deaths which could have been avoided if the drivers had complied with the road traffic regulations.

This same attitude towards road traffic regulations also likes to make an argument that the City pursues traffic offences for the purposes of revenue. This is absolute nonsense and is simply not the case. The money paid from fines is neglible as a precentage of the City’s budget. None of the money from traffic fines benefits or comes back to the Safety and Security Directorate, the Traffic Department or the individual traffic officers. There are no Christmas bonuses, quotas or and no commission is paid to officers. The only performance indicator we are measured by is whether there are fewer or more road deaths and whether people are more or less satisfied with how people drive on the roads, as measured anually in the satisfaction survey done among the public.

Fortunately Mr Botha does not determine policy in this regard and the City will continue to pursue our road safety strategies, which have resulted in the best levels of traffic enforcement in South Africa, the highest traffic fine payment rate and therefore also the lowest road mortality rates. And unlike other metros we do not “cash-cow” or “greed fine”. Our traffic officers are not hidden behind pillars and under camouflage netting. Our cameras are painted bright yellow and the speed and other enforcement is strictly based on where the accidents occur and in response to complaints from the public. If there is no static speed camera on Koeberg Road where Mr Botha thinks one should be, then it is because the accident statistics show that this is not where the worst road safety dangers exist.