File picture: Cara Viereckl / Independent Media.
Cape Town - With road accidents expected to increase during the festive season, the City of Cape Town is mulling a R166 million 24-hour traffic service to make roads safer and to clamp down on lawlessness.

If approved, Cape Town would have its own dedicated 24-hour traffic unit to patrol the City’s roads night and day. Currently only the provincial traffic officers operate on a 24-hour basis, but are mostly focused in areas outside the metro and on provincial and national roads.

According to the City’s proposal, Cape Town road users are mainly active between 6am and 10pm.The most common period for motorists is between 6am and 6.30pm.

“Traffic Services have three duty shifts of 6am to 2.30pm, 10.30am to 6.30pm and 3.30pm to midnight, which rotate over a four-week cycle.

“Some uniform traffic personnel work office hours, performing non-operational functions. Specialised sections within traffic services adhere to the same basic rotation but work differently to attend to specific complaints. Presently, the number of personnel involved in enforcement within Traffic Services is not sufficient to have a further rotation to cover a period from midnight to 6am,” said Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith.

Based on 24 inspectors and 240 traffic officers to service the four regions of the metro, an amount of R166million is needed.

Of that amount, R72m would be spent on salaries, R2.6m on uniforms, firearms would cost about R2.6m, and radios about R2.1m.

Altogether, R61m is to be spent on vehicles and general operational costs which includes fuel and stationery, etc, would set the City back R25m.

Smith said if a 24-hour team was rolled out now, it would require a further split in already depleted personnel and the existing daytime visibility would be compromised.

Stop COCT founder Sandra Dickson said the plan sounded good on paper, but asked how the City would fund the programme.

“We also need public participation in this programme. What worries me is that the City comes up with all these great plans, and then later it just adds more and more money to that programme. That’s the problem we have. But we would support this if the City gave us more information,” she said.

Smith said, in real terms, traffic services would need 24 (2 per zone) inspectors and 240 traffic officers (10 per cycle in each zone) in order to maintain the existing cycles and the possible implementation of a 24-hour service.

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Cape Argus