Taxis standing up to three abreast along Strand Street add to traffic congestion in the CBD. Picture: Henk Kruger / INLSA
Cape Town - Taxi drivers who park illegally along Strand Street next to the train station are a problem for the city, but are not the only road users behaving badly.

That’s according to mayoral committee member for social services and security JP Smith, who added that taxi drivers and other road users notched up nearly 2000 fines over the past six months in the CBD, including Strand Street.

“Many road users are guilty of flouting the law on an all too regular basis. The city’s traffic service conducts enforcement operations in as many areas as possible. However, given our finite resources, we are not able to be everywhere all the time.”

Smith added there were regulations that governed the behaviour of road users - motorised, non-motorised and pedestrians - and they were outlined in the National Road Traffic Act, as well as the City of Cape Town’s traffic by-laws.

1912 fines

Smith said Strand and Plein streets were on the standing list of complaints and were being attended to on a weekly basis by the city’s traffic service.

“The Integrated Rapid Transit Unit, along with a team from the Transport Enforcement Unit, has been deployed to the CBD, which includes Strand Street, on 56 occasions in the past six months.”

During this period, they issued 1 912 fines for offences committed by both public transport operators and private motorists.

“They also impounded 53 taxis found to be operating illegally.”

South African National Taxi Council member Mvuyise Mente said he was unaware of the issue at hand.

“I will find out which associations these taxis belong to and will take the matter further.”

Ineffective

Smith also said the city’s hands were tied when it came to the meting out of punishment for errant road users.

“The traffic service impounds hundreds of taxis every month when they transgress the National Land Transportation Act, as it is a more effective deterrent.

"We are also working with the Western Cape government to enhance the legislation and the conditions of the operating licences to permit impoundments for offences for which we would otherwise write fines.

"The challenge with fines is that this category of road user exhibits a low rate of fine payment, which means that fines are ineffective as a sanction, and the criminal justice system (which the city has no control over) is too timid to allow for effective consequences for non-payment of fines.”

Cape Argus

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