Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s Traffic Service is ramping up Operation Reclaim.
The increase in frequency of warrant operations aims to clear a backlog and persuade more motorists to settle their affairs with the Traffic Service.
Operation Reclaim is dedicated to tracking down motorists with outstanding warrants and securing payment.
From today, and for the rest of the year, the warrant section will be assisted by general traffic enforcement staff for special operations to execute warrants across the metropole.
"We appeal to the public to settle their outstanding warrants to avoid arrest and unnecessary delays during traffic warrant enforcement roadblocks. This is also a call to businesses or proxies to enquire about the traffic history of their employees to ensure driver fitness.
"This exercise is about reducing deaths in our roads. It is not only about arresting motorists, but rather to ensure compliance with the law. There are far too many motorists on our roads who have outstanding traffic fines that have progressed to warrant stage. Inaction on our part will simply perpetuate the perception that there are no consequences for bad behaviour and harm our efforts to make our roads safer," said Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.
Below is a comparative summary of warrant executions over a six-month period:
"Many people are concerned about being arrested at a roadblock for outstanding warrants. If one looks at the statistics, it’s evident that we arrested a smaller percentage of motorists in the most recent six-month period. This is an indication that we are acting in good faith and giving motorists an opportunity to pay these warrants or appear in court on a new date.
"That said, we do have a serious problem with people who deliberately rack up fines and refuse to pay these, as our ‘most wanted’ list attests. Just a few days ago, the Ghost Squad arrested a motorist with seventeen outstanding warrants totalling thirty-five thousand rand. That is not an oversight, but blatant disregard for the law. So we will throw the book at serial offenders," added Smith.
Officers will track down scofflaws using Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, roaming patrols, roadblocks and by going door-to-door.
The National Road Traffic Act also allows the City to put an administration mark against an applicant’s identity number where a warrant of arrest has been authorised. This prevents them from performing certain transactions with regard to vehicle registration and licensing and prevents them renewing their driver’s licence.
"Avoiding fines is simple. Just obey the rules of the road. However, where a fine is issued, motorists have options. We need to move away from the perception that fines are a revenue generator, because they’re not. If a fine has been issued in error, motorists have recourse. To simply avoid payment as some form of protest is not the answer. So, I appeal to motorists to register on an online platform like PayCity to track whether they have any fines, or visit their nearest walk-in centre and to pay outstanding fines," added Smith.