The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has denied it limits the amount of speed cameras the city is allowed to install, saying each application had to prove the location had a high accident rate.
On Wednesday the Cape Times reported that on average 87 motorists are fined every day for jumping red traffic lights in Cape Town and that the city was only allowed to have 50 speeding cameras.
The city has to apply to the NPA to install cameras and André Nel, the deputy traffic chief, said the number of cameras was limited because traffic courts could deal with only a certain number of prosecutions. Nel also said the NPA insisted cameras only be installed in high accident rate locations.
In the past year the city has issued about 1.5 million traffic and by-law fines, with about half the fines (740 000) issued for speeding.
More than 30 000 fines were for motorists jumping red lights.
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith revealed this in response to a column in Friday’s Cape Times calling on traffic authorities to install more speeding and traffic signal cameras to reduce fatalities ahead of the festive season.
Smith said the city had asked permission to install more cameras but later understood why the number of cameras could not be increased.
He said the city was willing to fund R1.9m to employ additional magistrates and prosecutors at courts to deal with the high volume of traffic offences.
NPA spokesman, Eric Ntabazalila said: “The NPA emphatically denies that it has limited the number of speed cameras to be set up around the metro. We have never put a figure on the number of cameras that must be installed.
“Every application we have received that has been accompanied by motivation and statistics of accidents, has been approved.
“We have never instructed any authority not to set up a speed camera or limited the number of cameras.”
Ntabazalila said municipal courts were established with the Department of Justice and municipalities to remove traffic matters from the ordinary court rolls in order for them to receive the attention they warranted.
“If we had not done this, there would have been chaos in the ordinary courts. As a result of this action, although we are not in a position to provide you with statistics presently, we have seen a significant improvement in dealing with traffic matters,” Ntabazalila said.
Smith said: “We are not at loggerheads with the NPA. We fully agree that we shouldn’t expand the number of cameras until court capacity catches up.”